Gunned down a mere 24 hours before you were to be married. In seconds, over 50 shots fired. 3 men injured. One dead. This is the story of Sean Bell. A story heard many times before. Different circumstances, different names, but the same story. A broken record of injustice that plays out in cities across the US. Sean Bell’s story comes to an end this week as his estate and the city of New York reached a settlement over his unjust death. Sean’s family and friends received a sum of $7.15M that will be divided amongst a fund established for his children and his friends who were also injured that night. Despite the gravity of the circumstances surrounding this murder, a top NYC police union official had the audacity to release a statement admonishing the settlement amount and placing blame on Bell for the outcome of the shooting. Detectives Union President Michael Palladino was quoted as saying "The settlement was excessive and disregards Sean Bell's actions and culpability." He went on to call the settlement “an absolute joke” and claimed that Bell was intoxicated and played a role in his demise. William Bell, father of the fatally wounded groom, responded to the comments by saying, "He thinks life is a joke…I don't think life is a joke."
I am not sure what planet Palladino is from, but usually when one is taking part in a bachelor party there is an expectation of a few drinks. Does that grant a racist task force the right to release 50 rounds and end a life prematurely? Does it warrant the three officers involved in the slaying being acquitted of manslaughter and reckless endangerment? I say no. The fact that Palladino feels this conduct was warranted should put his judgment and position in question. I feel the Bell family deserves this settlement and much more. Sean Bell is gone and neither $7 million nor $100 million will bring him back to life. This settlement is one note of justice in the resounding broken record of injustice everywhere.