You’ve probably already read the story about 23-year old Sean Bell who was shot and killed by 5 NYPD officers on the day he was to be married.
One can speculate that he was shot at by police because he rammed the undercover police car and brushed an undercover officer who approached the car. There was also talk about the undercover officer overhearing a man say that he’s going to “get his gun”.
So I put myself in Sean Bell’s position for a moment. He was apparently involved in a “scuffle” in the parking lot of the strip club with another group of men. They apparently shared some words and then walked their separate ways. The undercover officer apparently followed closely behind Bell’s group to their car and when he intervened, Sean Bell’s car apparently hit the officer, then rammed into the unmarked police minivan. He then backed up and hit an object and then drove forward again. I believe this is when the officers opened fire on the car.
I’m speculating that he was probably frightened by the undercover officer walking up to his car; likely thinking it was someone trying to start a fight. He was probably trying to get the hell out of there when the unmarked police minivan pulled up in front of him. That probably scared him even more. They were then showered with bullets, with one officer firing 31 rounds.
Based on the information made public so far, I don’t think the officers were justified in opening fire on the car. I’ve seen TV shows where a car-thief rams his car into a marked police car and I’ve never seen the police open fire on the car except maybe to blow the tires out. So to open fire on a car that rammed an unmarked police car is definitely crossing the line. I would be pretty damn scared if someone walked up to me or a van pulled right in front of me promptly after getting into a scuffle at a strip club. I think my first instinct would be to do everything I can to get away.
I think if the police weren’t undercover, the situation would have been much different and Sean Bell would probably still be alive and celebrating his 1 week anniversary right now.