First, undercover police fired 50 bullets at Sean Bell and his friends. Then, they cuffed the mortally wounded Bell for his ride to the hospital.
That’s right. According to the lead Metro article in the New York Times today (reg. req’d.), the Finest looked at the unarmed Bell, 23, thought he was close to death, and put handcuffs on him—and on one of his gravely injured friends—anyway. From the NYT’s article, which the paper describes as based on a copy of the police report:
Officer Maloney said he pulled Mr. Bell from the car and cuffed his bloody hands. He then escorted an ambulance that carried him to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and stayed with Mr. Bell until he was relieved. Mr. Bell, who was pronounced dead at 4:56 a.m., never said a word, Officer Maloney said.
After the jump: Who you looking at?
See also: Fred Askew photo gallery, “Commissioner Kelly Must Go”
To help them blend in, plainclothes officers working the clubs beat are allowed a couple of drinks over the course of an eight-hour shift. Blend in, relax, whatever—this officer, as described by the NYT, sounds downright paranoid.
Lieutenant Napoli’s account makes clear that he believed the men in Mr. Bell’s car knew he was a police officer because he had made eye contact with one of them. The report says Lieutenant Napoli could not articulate why he believed that.
For the record, survivors of the shooting have said they had no idea the men confronting them in streetclothes were cops.