With the grand jury delivering a decision about the Sean Bell shooting case any moment, the city is on alert. The Mayor met with Queens community leaders yesterday. Mayor Bloomberg also called Bell's mother, fiancee Nicole Paultre-Bell, and the Reverend Al Sharpton. The Mayor said:
We are very sensitive to emotions and I don't expect any trouble. People have a right to express themselves. Some people will be happy no matter what, some people will be disappointed.
No matter what happens there will be people who feel that there were not enough indictments and people who feel that there were too many indictments.
Mayor Bloomberg is hoping for calm, but Sharpton has said he'll ask for a special prosecutor if he's not satisfied with the grand jury's findings. And while some community members want calm as well, they believe some neighborhoods may be very upset if there are no indictments.
The grand jury will decide if any of the five police officers involved with the November shooting of three unarmed men, Sean Bell, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, should face criminal charges. The police fired 50 times, killing Bell, while Guzman and Benefield were wounded. Lawyers for the police officers involved think that undercover detective Gescard Isnora, who fired the first shot, and Detective MIchael Oliver, who fired 31 times (reloading once), are "most vulnerable" for indictment. What do you think the grand jury will do?
And the NYPD has put 1,700 officers on duty to be ready for any unrest - though the police claim it's because there are a number of events - a health care rally, St. Patrick's Day Parade, anti-war protest - in the next few days.
Photograph of NYPD patrol cars during a surge drill by Pro-Zak on Flickr