Thanksgiving weekends are commonly shared with family, eating leftovers and enjoying good cheer. But for the family and friends of Sean Bell, it’s a constant reminder of a life that was lost due to police brutality.
To commemorate his death, last weekend, Nicole Bell, Sean’s fiancé, and some family and friends gathered in Jamaica, Queens, on Liverpool Street (which has been changed to Sean Bell Way) and 94 Avenue, at the exact spot where Mr. Bell was killed. Rain, sleet or snow hasn’t been able to deter the annual gathering from taking place.
On Nov. 24 at 11 p.m., the start time of his bachelor party, they start assembling. They stand outside with candles until 4:17 a.m., the time of his death. They then ring a bell 50 times to symbolize the bullets police fired at Sean and his friends.
On Nov. 25, 2006, an unarmed Sean Bell was fatally gunned down and two of his friends were injured by a team of plain-clothes, undercover New York City police officers in a hail of 50 bullets while leaving his bachelor party in Queens, New York. He was to be married later that day.
The incident caused a national stir and criticism against the police department, comparing the killing to that of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant who was killed when New York City police officers fired 41 bullets at him in February 1999. The police in both cases were acquitted of any and all charges.
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