Yesterday afternoon, Sean Bell was laid to rest in Nassau Knolls Cemetery in Port Washington, Long Island. Bell was killed last weekend in a barrage of police bullets outside a Queens club where he had been celebrating his bachelor party. About 200 mourners were present for the burial; Bell's fiancee and two daughters were present, and his older brother sobbed, "My baby brother!"
But in Queens, near the Kalua Lounge in Jamaica, hundreds of protesters gathered outside police precincts and the hospital where two of Bell's friends injured in the gunfire, angrily yelled "Those bastards should be in jail!" and "Soon, it's going to be an eye for an eye!" Police were present, but no violence erupted during the bitter protest. The Reverend Al Sharpton who did not attend the New Black Panther Party-organized protest (he was at the burial) said, "Recklessness will only make it look like Sean Bell and his friends were reckless and deserved what they got."
As the police and public wonder about what happened outside the Kalua Lounge, there are questions about whether it should have even been open. The club had been the target of many city and state attempts to shut it down due to prostitution but remained opened thanks to an ability to stay "one step ahead of legal authorities for a decade," according to the NY Times. The Daily News lists other bars besides the Kalua that are being targeted by the police in the wake of recent club crime.
The Daily News has had some of the best coverage of the shooting, especially with essays and commentary. Today, there's an essay by retired 20 year NYPD veteran Tom Santino who says that people are presuming the police officers are guilty before they have the facts alongside an essay by WNYC's Brian Lehrer who writes "The sad reality is that to make any sense at all of last week's shooting of groom-to-be Sean Bell and two other men outside a Queens strip club, you have to view it through the lens of race and experience.".
Photograph of protesters yesterday by Adam Rountree/AP