Bell and Diallo, Bloomberg and Giuliani
November 28th, 2006

Mayor Michael Bloombergs comments yesterday criticizing police actions in the shooting death of Sean Bell prompted commentators to draw comparisons between Bloomberg and his predecessor, Rudolph Giuliani.

“Much has changed in New York since Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant, was killed in a hail of 41 bullets fired by city police officers in 1999,” the Times says in an editorial. “Mr. Diallos death sent racial tensions in the city nearly to a boiling point helped along by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who regularly shunned meetings with black leaders and failed to treat the crisis with the urgency it required.”

In his column (Times Select only), Clyde Haberman applauds the changes at City Hall. “When the unarmed Amadou Diallo was killed in 1999 by four police officers who fired 41 shots, Mr. Giuliani failed to grasp that whatever the wrongs or rights of the case,” he writes. Instead, Haberman continues, the city had ” a leader who stood in the Blue Room alone, lashing out almost Lear-like at his critics,” unlike Bloomberg who “understands that flexibility of the spirit does not necessarily mean weakness.”

In calling the 50 shots fired by “unacceptable or inexplicable,” the Daily News writes, “Mayor Bloomberg rendered a fair preliminary assessment of a tragedy that, more and more, appears to have stemmed from a failure to follow proper NYPD procedures by cops who were on the front lines in the war on illegal guns.”

“Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg, flanked by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and several African-American leaders, showed real leadership by firmly stating that he was disturbed by the number of shots fired 50 in total, writes El Diario. Harking back to Bloombergs predecessor, the editorial goes on, “Our city is scarred by the legacy of a former mayor, now running for president. In a series of ugly police incidents that resulted in the abuse or deaths of young African-American, Latino and Asian men, the rash statements of former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani needlessly added insult to injury.”

But Bloomberg comes in for criticism as well. Responding to his comments, the Post believes “Mayor Mike needs to hold his horses.” “It must be remembered that as a matter of law, cops have an explicit right to use deadly force if they are in reasonable fear for their lives,” the editorial says, adding that in this case “such a fear was indeed reasonable”

The Blah, Blah, Blahg condemns what it see as a rush to judgement. “If this incident turns out to be a justified use of deadly force … how many of these leaders will come back and publicly apologize for finding the officers guilty in the court of public opinion? Which of them will make an effort to admit to speak to the accused officers then?” it writes.

And whatever the merits of the mayors comments, some believe they only go so far. Beyond Saturdays shooting, there is a disturbing pattern of behavior in Bloombergs police department, writes News columnist Errol Louis. Citing a sharp increase in the number of civilian complaints against the police and in lawsuits brought against the department, Louis says, “Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s NYPD is failing to protect and serve the public the way it should.”

The Jewschool blog agrees: “While Mayor Bloomberg responded, calling 50 shots as unacceptable, unfortunately, the mayor also would not discuss this as a pattern,” which the writer says, includes “daily racial profiling, harassment, beating and arrests of people of color in New York City.”

By on November 28, 2006, 8:56 am
In category: Civil Rights,Crime & Safety,Gotham City | 7 Comments »

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7 Responses to “Bell and Diallo, Bloomberg and Giuliani”

  1. RagManX Says:
    November 28th, 2006 at 11:49 am

    Imagine my surprise to find a trackback to something I’ve written. I get like 40 unique visitors a day – I figured pretty much just the people who know me ever see what I write. Thanks for the link, however you found it.

    I think it is actually quite probable that these officers will be found totally at fault here. But I also think that until we know more, we can’t just decide they are guilty and start looking for how to punish them. That’s what I’ve now deemed the Nancy Grace style of finding the truth – declare what lets you get the most outraged, and then ignore it if the truth differs from what you’ve implied in your interpretation based on whatever you make up in your head.

    I’m tired of the publicity hounds doing this crap to get whatever community they feel they represent riled up and then never coming back to admit they were wrong when the truth differs from what they claimed was the truth in order to get people upset. I’m thinking things like Nancy Grace in the runaway bride case ( or Rev. Sharpton during the Tawana Brawley case ( in particular. Why does no one hold these talking heads responsible for pulling crap like this? And why isn’t anyone upset with them for poisoning any potential jury pool? Will any of these people ever apologize to the accused when they turn out to be wrong? Of course, the answer is probably not, but it still bothers me that so many people just accept that.

    Any way, thank you for the link. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the investigation now. Maybe that innocent until proven guilty thing still matters to some people.


  2. William Gallahue Says:
    November 28th, 2006 at 4:03 pm

    I am disturbed as well. The fact that officers opened fire believing he had a gun points out that the officers were willing to blindly shoot those without regard. Obviously not being white these men to the officers were “thugs” and after all according to all the media stereotypes, black men driving around at 3am must be carrying heat right?

    I think that we need educate the public that this is a race issue and that its not about equality, its about ending subversive racism that still exists in our world today.

  3. RagManX Says:
    November 29th, 2006 at 1:49 am

    When you say ending subversive racism, are you including the kind expressed in your post, or only the kind that involves 2 white, 1 latino, and 2 black police officers shooting at 3 black men who have run into two unmarked police vans with their car and scraped or hit one of the officers while trying to drive away? Are the 2 white police officers the only racist officers, or are the 3 non-black officers, or is it all 5?

    Until we know more about what happened, all we can say is excessive retaliatory force was used. We don’t know if there was a valid reason for the officers to believe they needed deadly force. The first officer to fire, based on the information in the story, seems justified – he was in some way contacted by the car as the men tried to leave, which can easily be interpreted as an attack by the officer hit/scraped. The other 4 officers were probably justified in believe they needed to draw their firearms once the first officer did – there isn’t time in an actual attack situation to discuss whether or not to draw or fire once one officer starts.

    What we don’t know is why so many shots were fired, nor why the men in the car hit the police vans. We don’t know if there were racist causes for the firings. We don’t know why the officers were following the 3 men as they left the club. We don’t know enough to say that this is a race issue, based on the information I have seen about the incident.

    I just want to understand why these officers are judged racist for this. Excessive in use of force? Yes. Justified in use of deadly force? We don’t know yet – maybe yes, maybe no. Racist? I need someone to educate me on why that claim is valid.


  4. Marcus Willingham Says:
    November 29th, 2006 at 12:38 pm

    I think that people should not always assume what seems to be the obvious in any circumstance. I know often lots of people like to cry racism when white people do things that aren’t beneficial to the well being of minorities but that isn’t always the case.

    With the Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo case, most people compare and contrast Bloomberg and Giuliani with Bloomberg caring for the Black Community and Giuliani being hateful of the black community. I will be the first to stand up and say, it isn’t that open and shut.

    If you date back to the Civil War, most people would probably consider General Robert E. Lee a racist and hate monger because he commanded the Confederate army. The truth is that actually before the Civil War began, Lee released his own slaves. So everything isn’t always what itr appears to be.

    I’ve had the opportunity to be around both Bloomberg and Giuliani and as a African-American, I can say I actually felt more embraced by Giuliani than by Bloomberg. During the times I’ve spent with Giuliani, we talked about every day things such as sports, our families, the weather and over topics. He was very sincere in his interest and even jokingly disagreed when I told him I was not a Knicks fan but a Celtic fan.

    The time I spent with Bloomberg, he has been very calculating almost figuring out at a moments notice, the appropriate things to say. Since his livelihood is to make money, business is in the job of selling a product. Bloomberg is also a master manipulator who handles conflict by letting other people duke it out, while he sits back and looks pretty. Now I am not saying that Bloomberg is racist but I think his approach is more on the level of a salesman trying to get the costumer to buy.

    So when you saw Giuliani say or do something that wasn’t favorable to the community, I don’t think it was racism. I believe that we were dealing with a stubborn man who stands firm on his beliefs, right or wrong. That doesn’t make a man racist, it makes him misguided. If anyone followed the history of Bloomberg you would find some pretty questionable circumstances that could be construed as racist but I don’t think that is the case either.

    With the various communities, I think some people have better philosophies and strategies when it comes to dealing with various ethnicities. So when we talk about Diallo and Bell, let’s not really lose focus on the issue of lives lost. This has nothing to do with racism. It has to do with people not being made better aware of their environment.

  5. MilesBerkedge Says:
    November 30th, 2006 at 4:05 pm

    These are the same molestor Tamanind labor unions who lynched blacks during the civil war.

  6. jspot » Blog Archive » Two Local NY Actions Worth Noting Says:
    December 14th, 2006 at 11:27 am

    […] Also, after Jeremy’s earlier post on police brutality, and my own, I wanted to let people know that JFREJ will be marching in this weekend’s protest against police brutality being organizing by the Coalition for Police Reform. On the eve of his wedding, November 25th, Sean Bell was shot and killed in a hail of 50 gunshots by NYC Police officers. He and his friends were not armed and not charged with any crime. This injustice must end! […]

  7. JH Says:
    January 4th, 2007 at 11:56 am

    The fact of the matter is that there is a pattern in which young black men are the victims of police brutality more so than any other group in this country. You do not hear that many stories of white men being the victims of excessive force.

    I think there is a disconncetion on issues of race in this country and I feel that the media and politicians need to take an honest look at the situation and stop blaming Sharpton and Jackson for the problem.

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