If you were like me last Friday, you read the news with your jaw on the floor. Judge Arthur Cooperman dismissed the charges against the police officers who fired 50 bullets (and took time to reload) into Sean Bell, an unarmed black man at strip club before his wedding night. He said the witnesses against the cops had criminal records, so they weren't very reliable; and their testimony "made no sense."
Among my first thoughts (after a round of disgust, anger, outrage, then more disgust), was to wonder how anyone in the African American communities around our country can possibly seek justice against the police who routinely harrass them, brutalize them, victimize them and occasionally murder them. Think about it: black men are far more likely to get arrested than white men; incarceration rates for blacks are much higher than for whites. This largely affects urban working class African American communities. So how likely is going to be that among witnesses of a shooting at a strip club in a black part of the city one will find a few with criminal records? I'm not commenting on whether their convictions were justified or not. Some probably were. But it's ridiculous to willy-nilly dismiss their testimony when as a population they are routinely treated as a criminal class by the authorities.
And, yeah, I'm none too surprised that their might be confusing testimony arising from a crowded strip club on a busy night when plain clothes cops start firing their weapons.