Last month Rev. Al Sharpton led citywide demonstrations against the acquittals of officers in the Sean Bell case. Hundreds of protestors clogged intersections bringing traffic to a halt. More than 200 people were arrested, including Rev Sharpton, Nicole Paultre Bell, the fiancée of slain groom Sean Bell, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield- both who were shot and wounded by the police in a hail of 50 bullets in the 2006 shooting. The charges included disorderly conduct for blocking traffic or refusing orders to disperse.
Although these cases are generally dismissed as is the practice with most civil disobedience cases, the Brooklyn and Manhattan prosecutors said charges will only be dismissed against 154 of the protesters after six months “if the defendants stay out of trouble”. One protestor who was arrested said that “this stipulation is a ploy to reduce the number of people who would possibly submit themselves to for arrest at the next major protest.”
61 cases, including those of Bell and Sharpton, are still pending in Manhattan and another nine pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.
Bell, 23, died in a hail of 50 bullets on Nov. 25, 2006, by undercover police officers who were cleared of all charges.