Sharpton Calls for 'Pray-In' for Justice In Bell Case

Published May 5, 2008

Posted May 5, 2008 – Following up on his promise to bring the nation’s largest city to a screeching halt to highlight the injustice of the Sean Bell verdict, the Rev. Al Sharpton Saturday called for a “pray-in” protest of civil disobedience.

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Sharpton said demonstrators would gather Wednesday afternoon at six locations throughout the city, including New York Police headquarters, and fan out to other areas to disrupt the flow of the city.

"Where we go from there is anybody's guess," said Rachel Noerdlinger, Sharpton's spokeswoman. they'll be arrested praying."

Sharpton hopes that the image of police officers arresting people as they pray will keep the pressure on federal law enforcement officials to take over the investigation of three NYPD detectives who were acquitted last week of killing Bell, an unarmed young Black man, on the eve of his wedding day. He and two friends were leaving a bachelor party at a Queens strip club in November 2006 when police unloaded 50 bullets at them. The two friends, Trent Benefield, 23, and Joseph Guzman, 31, were seriously injured.

N.Y. Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman bought the testimony of officers and witnesses who said that the three detectives – Gescard Isnora, Michael Oliver and Marc Cooper – believed that one of the victims had a gun.

"It's going to be a long struggle, but the race isn't given to the swift or the strong, but to those who endure," Sharpton said. Wednesday’s demonstration, one of many the Rev. says will take place until justice is served, will kick off at 3 p.m.

Written by BET-Staff

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