Sean Bell with fianc� Nicole Paultre

NEW YORK ( – “This is the time for clarity and a time for authentic leadership to step forward,” argued Broooklyn City Councilman Charles Barron. The former Black Panther told reporters, the day after the killing of Sean Bell, 23, and the wounding of two of his friends by police officers in the borough of Queens: “We are not the only ones that can bleed.”

His statements have had some Black elected officials running for cover; while some have chided him in the media.

“Don’t ask our people to be peaceful while they are being shot dead,” Mr. Barron told the New York Times.


In an interview with The Final Call, the fiery councilman said that it was time for a “radicalization” of the climate. “Just as Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches us on the need to speak truth to power; and the authentic role he plays nationally and internationally in bringing clarity on the issues–so must we step up to the plate in New York City,” Rep. Barron stressed.

Concerned citizens formed a human chain in front of the Community Church of Christ to make way for the cars carrying relatives and others after the funeral service for Sean Bell on Dec. 1 in Queens, New York. Mr. Bell, 23, was killed by New York police officers the morning of his wedding day Nov. 25.
Photo: AP/World Wide Photos

“Police terrorism will increase in New York only because it is profitable for media ratings, activists and attorneys, and it undergirds the slave code. White money has destroyed the Black church, Black politics and, now, Black activism,” former activist Alton Maddox Jr. wrote in the Amsterdam News.

“The masses want revolution,” claims Attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz, national chairman of the New Black Panther Party. Atty. Shabazz led a huge demonstration on the streets of Queens Dec. 2, as Sean Bell was being laid to rest. On the issue of unity, he said, “Fundamentally, some of us will never agree on what position must be taken in this hour. There are grandmothers in the streets of New York City saying ‘by any means necessary.’ The people’s response to Sean Bell’s murder has nothing to do with Sean Bell’s murder.”

He says the call in the streets is for a new, stronger option that differs from what the traditional power brokers are able to provide.

The New York Times stated on Dec. 3, that, “the measured response of many Black leaders signifies an evolution in the city’s racial politics, as leaders representing a growing Black middle class move to the forefront in dealing with a White Republican mayor.” Along with the story is a photo of Black leaders sitting at a table with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, two days after the killing of Sean Bell.

“Black politicians in Queens are out of touch,” states Mr. Barron, who refused to be in the photo-op with the mayor.

Katiadou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo–who was killed by 41 shots from four White police officers on Feb. 4, 1999, stated on the Imotep Gary Byrd “Express Yourself” radio program that what is needed is a plan to bring people together.

Ms. Diallo was in New York City on the day that news broke of the latest slaying of an unarmed Black. Serving as head of the Amadou Diallo Foundation, she informed that the foundation is working to bring the necessary policy changes to ensure that the “murder of our children by police stops.”

“I attended the wake of Sean Bell with the mother of Patrick Dorismond, who was killed by police in 2000. We said here we go again wrapped in this grief and pain and we must yet console another mother,” Ms. Diallo said. There must be an answer to why our children are always portrayed as criminals, she added.

Reverend Al Sharpton of the National Action Network said on the ABC television show with Gil Noble, that Black activists and leaders must work more closely with “gangbangers.”

“Society looks at gangbangers as an excuse for the killing of the Sean Bells in our community,” Rev. Sharpton stated.

He also said that there was a new sense of coming together within the circle of Black leadership, sharing that he had received a call from the Reverend Calvin Butts about the latest killing. “We may not always agree or get along, but there is a sense that now is not the time for differences,” Rev. Sharpton stressed.

Some leaders in the community say they are concerned about public calls for retribution.

“I am definitely concerned because I truly believe the NYPD is looking for an excuse to pull out all of its Homeland Security apparatus–tanks, helicopters–they have been trying for the last 10 years to start a riot in this city,” charged Atiim Ferguson of the Brooklyn-based Committee to Honor Black Heroes. Mr. Ferguson, a former lieutenant to Sonny Carson, says that this is a national trend within police departments.

Queens Councilman Leroy Comrie said that now is the time to return to the true spirit of the Million Man March. “I attended the march, and I believe that we must restate that commitment to each other, that we stated on the Washington Mall over 10 years ago. Then and only then can we achieve the kind of unity needed to solve this issue,” Mr. Comrie told The Final Call.

Atty. Shabazz agreed. “The relevancy of the Million Man March and the organization of the nine ministries called for at the Millions More Movement should have been in place in New York already,” he insisted. “That’s if they are to have proper relevancy to the defense of Black people.”