Monday, November 26, 2007

Broken Justice

Justice is hard to find and easy to lose and it usually gets broken in the fight.

That’s why Khiel Coppin was killed by the New York City Police Department in a hail of 20 bullets outside his Brooklyn home just under a year from the day that Sean Bell was killed in his Queens neighborhood by 50 more NYPD bullets which came seven years after Amadou Diallo was shot 41 times by the police outside his Bronx building.

Broken justice keeps killing and killing and killing.

It’s easy to blame the shooters, but this is more about brutal police policies than brutal police officers.

The real problem is with a Mayor and a Police Commissioner who have made no attempt to change a system that ended the lives of Coppin at 18 years, 20 bullets and Bell at 23 years, 50 bullets and Diallo at 23 years, 41 bullets.

New York State Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith created a Legislative Task Force on Police Procedures in the wake of the Bell shooting. The goal was to establish better relations between the police and the neighborhoods they are supposed to protect.

The NYPD decided not to participate.

“This is not an attack against the Police Department,” Smith said yesterday after the Task Force’s final hearing. “This is a way of saying we want to help and we want better relations. But in order to have that you must communicate. That lack of communication is a little concerning.”

Another attempt at justice is broken in the fight.


Donna said...

Some of the cops around Yankee Stadium can be rough and they have their “tourist” hats on to take care of all the out-of-towners at the game. Some of what goes on in the neighborhoods makes third-world dictatorships look civilized by comparison.

Pete said...

I certainly can’t argue with any of that. The cops do have a tough job, but their motto of “shoot early and often” has to change.

Henry said...

If the police would listen for a change things would be safer for everyone including them.

Larry Jaffe said...

All Wallets Are Not Created Equal

Dedicated to the memory of Amadou Diallo

executed by four members of the New York City Police Department on Feb. 4, 1999

He was not rich enough
to stop bullets
his wallet not sufficiently loaded
with credit cards and
membership cards
to exclusive country clubs
to ultimately protect him.

No draped American flag
clothed his body
only a shiny immigrant suit
a dusty wallet within
a green card
but no green backs.

His wallet not rich enough
with Caucasian stock
just pictures of family pride
protecting his heritage.

His wallet not prosperous enough
to shield him
from copper
jacketed slugs.

He was not wearing
a three-piece designer suit
with bulletproof vest

But with appeals of surrender
he lifted arms wide
receiving a 41-gun salute
NYPD black and blue.

Larry Jaffe said...

Todd, the poem I just posted was written right after his murder. I was doing a lot of touring back then and the poem got picked up in several publications.


Todd Drew said...

Thanks for sharing the poem. It’s a very nice piece about a very sad episode. The saddest part is that nothing has changed, yet. But we will get there…