Angry Marchers: Eye-For-An-Eye

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(Dr. James McIntosh, a well known psychologist and community organizer addressed the youth. Shabazz, blocked in this picture, is shown behind him).

Chanting “long live Sean Bell� and “50 shot boycott� hundreds of people marched through the streets of South Jamaica, Queens, Saturday to protest the police killing of Bell and called for a 50-day boycott of non-Black owned businesses.

As the protesters walked down the busy business streets of Jamaica Ave., Malik “Zulu� Shabazz, organizer and leader of the New Black Panther Party implored the many Black and Latino shoppers milling around to “get out of these stores and close the damn doors.�

Pausing at stores such as Old Navy and the Gertz Mall, Shabazz told the marchers and shoppers that they “must stop financing your oppression.� He also talked about using “teams of youths� to protest outside stores citywide.

Shabazz also stopped at the 103 Precinct telling the cops there “this is not a civil rights march� while chanting “off the pigs who kill our kids� and “50 shots for fifty cops� as the crowd vented their rage at the state of police brutality in New York City.

Shabazz demanded justice for Sean Bell, who was 23 when he was killed by undercover police, some of whom had been drinking, on the morning he was to get married. Shabazz told the demonstrators that “we must police the police� while issuing a warning to the cops standing behind the barricades at the 103 Precinct that people would “be on your behinds in these streets.�

The march started with a mobilization at 94 Ave. and Liverpool St., where Bell was killed during a 50 shot volley fired by five NYPD undercover officers on the morning of November 25. Bell and his friends Trent Benefield, 23, and Joseph Guzman, 31 had been at the Kalua Cabaret where Bell had attended his bachelor party.

Police claimed that around 4 a.m. Bell and his friends had gotten into an argument with another man. They said that an officer who had been part of an undercover operation looking into prostitution at the strip club heard one of Bell’s friends make reference to a gun. This officer, who is said to have been drinking alcohol, followed the men on his own for approximately a block and a half, instead of asking his fellow officers listening in to stop Bell and his friends. He claims he called out “police� but that Bell tried to run him over.

This claim has been widely rebuffed—a Hispanic witness who wanted only to be identified as “Michael� told The Black Star News that the cop had “no badge� visible and that “at no time whatsoever was there any exchange of words like ‘police’ or anything.�

He told The Black Star that either Bell, or one his friends, said “he has a gun, he has a gun let’s get out of here� and that Bell tried to drive away quickly at which point his vehicle was rammed by an unmarked police van before being riddled with 50 bullets leaving groom-to-be Bell, father of two, dead and his two friends wounded. Of course, no gun was found.

The police have since claimed that a fourth person left the scene. But they have been unable to find this person or any evidence of a gun taken from Liverpool Street, even though raids have been conducted in the Jamaica area, which have further incensed the community. Bell’s killing has opened up wounds that were never fully healed since the execution of Amadou Diallo in a hail of 41 shots.

The tone of the march was vociferous in nature and it gave the feeling that violence may well be around the corner, if justice is rebuffed in this case.

Members of the Bloods and the Crips participated in the demonstration, some of whom chanted, “Fuck the police.�
In a symbolic statement, members of both groups joined bandannas and they stated that their guns would now turn outward towards “killer cops.� There was also a call of “death to police murderers.�

As the march progressed, both the crowd, and the police presence grew. The march went past the Jamaica Train Station, on Sutphin Blvd., before turning right on Jamaica Ave, going by many stores in the area, as well as by the 103 Precinct at 168-02, 168 St. before going past York College on 160 St.

Walking through the South Jamaica Homes housing projects, as cops could be seen patrolling the rooftops, Shabazz defiantly proclaimed that marchers had the police fearful, at one point, calling the protest “Hurricane Bell� as a wall of cops wearing blue jackets that read “community relations� could be seen everywhere. The march returned to Sutphin Ave. and then back to 94 Ave. and Liverpool St.

Shabazz told the outraged demonstrators that they were “taking a mighty stand today� and that the event was historic. He also promised to hold simultaneous marches in Queens and Harlem in the coming weeks, starting next Saturday.

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