2006_12_npbell.gifToxicology reports now show that Sean Bell, the unarmed man who was killed in a barrage of police bullets hours before his wedding, had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit. Which gives the groups representing the police some soundbites regarding the events of the night. The Detectives' Endowment Association president Michael Palladino said, "[This report] gives some insight into why Sean Bell acted the way he did behind the wheel. His behavior was reckless and life-threatening to the officer he hit. If the reports are true, his judgment was impaired."

The undercover police officers who shot at Bell and two of his friends said that he identified himself as a police officer but that Bell drove into him anyway, one of the possible reasons why the police shot at him (though why 50 shots were fired is another issue). One of Bell's friends, Trent Benefield, said that the officer did not identify himself.

Sanford Rubenstein, a lawyer for the Bell family, says, "No matter what his blood-alcohol level was, he is a victim." And let's not forget that there are questions about how much the police were drinking that evening.

Photograph of Bell's fiancee, Nicole Paultre Bell, at last weekend's protest march by Shiho Fukada; Paultre Bell is wearing a pin with Sean Bell's photograph