Police Who Killed Sean Bell Should Be Fired

A jail sentence may not be the answer for Sean Bell's killers, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes at his Atlantic magazine blog; firing them is a far better way to avoid future catastrophic mistakes.

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Supporters at officers' trial (Getty)

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in his blog at the Atlantic that while he can understand why Sean Bell's killers didn't go to jail, he is not convinced that an officer who made such a grave mistake should continue in his chosen line of work.

On the eve of his wedding Sean Bell was killed by the police. He was unarmed. He was not guilty of whatever the officers suspected of him. I can think of few qualities more essential to people charged with carrying guns in defense of the state than good judgement. Apparently, judgement is beside the point:

"This should not be getting looked at in the trial room at all," Mr. Lynch said. "The police officer felt that there was a weapon; his and other peoples' lives were in danger. He has an obligation and a right to stop that threat, and that's what he was doing."

A right. And not simply to not go to jail, but presumably to hit the street and shoot other people who the officer judges as a threat. 

I have no reason to doubt that Officer Isnora when he says he thought members of Sean Bell's party were armed. But he thought wrong. Detective Isnora should be made to explore another career path. 

Read Ta-Nehisi Coates' entire blog entry at the Atlantic.

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