The blue line: race-ing justice 25 April 2008Posted by marisacat in Culture of Death, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.
From the Village Voice:
[I]n the run up to Cooperman giving his verdict, the courtroom was ringed with 17 court officers, who remained standing in front of the pews, while another 11 jammed the aisle separating supporters of Bell, filling the pews on the right side, and the backers of the cops, seated to the left. Before the judge entered the audience was asked to refrain from making any outbursts and remain sitting after the verdict until Cooperman had exited the court.
Shortly after, the judge finished up his reasoning and announced he was acquitting the officers on all charges. Ignoring the pre-verdict instructions, Nicole Paultre Bell, Bell’s fiancee and widow, stood up immediately and walked out of the courtroom. Rows of Bell supporters followed her. “Unadulterated bullshit,” one man said on his way out. In a second row pew, Bell’s father, dressed all in white, buried his face while shaking his head as Bell’s mother broke into tears while being consoled by a family member next to him.
After the potentially explosive verdict was given, Mayor Michael Bloomberg conveniently attended an unscheduled ribbon-cutting ceremony about a mile away from where Bell was shot to announce the opening of a job center in Jamaica. “There are no winners in a trial like this,” the mayor said. “An innocent man lost his life, a bride lost her groom, two daughters lost their father, and a mother and a father lost their son.
No verdict could ever end the grief that those who knew and loved Sean Bell suffer.
Judge Cooperman’s responsibility, however, was to decide the case based on the evidence presented in the courtroom. America is a nation of laws, and though not everyone will agree with the verdicts and opinions issued by the courts, we accept their authority. Today’s decision is no different. There will be opportunities for peaceful dissent and potentially for further legal recourse—those are the rights we enjoy in a democratic nation. We don’t expect violence or law-breaking, nor is there any place for it. We have come too far as society—and as a City—to be dragged back to those days.
After the morning court instruction to attend the verdict and wait politely afterward for the judge to leave, Bloomberg then cautioned the community of Sean Bell against violence. I am sure the accurate parsing of the judge’s stated reasoning is that this community did not deserve justice:
Noting the unreliability of prosecution witnesses, through their renunciations and inconsistent statements, past criminal convictions, demeanor while testifying and motivation to lie on the stand, Cooperman acquitted the cops following a bench trial, saying “These factors played a significant part in the people’s ability to prosecute their case and had the effect of eviscerating the credibility of the people’s witnesses….at times the testimony just didn’t make sense. “
Not much left to say, really. Power spoke with its heavy hand.
This languished in Moderation from near the end of the previoius thread… and it fits in with this post:
NEW YORK (AP) — Looking for another sign that Manhattan real estate prices aren’t headed for the cellar? A basement storage room in the famed Dakota apartment building fetched $801,000 in a recent sale.
High prices are nothing new for the Dakota, a gorgeous, gabled palace overlooking Central Park, best known as the home of John Lennon and the scene of his 1980 assassination. Yoko Ono still lives there and its apartments routinely sell for many millions of dollars.
The room’s buyer, hedge fund manager John Angelo, said the price was reasonable, considering what he’s getting.
The space is 800 square feet and has 20-foot-high ceilings and two windows, he said, making it bigger than many apartments in Manhattan, where a studio can be as small as 300 square feet and the median price for an apartment is over $850,000.
His storage space also has a bathroom and electricity. “I could make it a squash court if I wanted,” Angelo said, only half joking.
He said he plans to turn the room into a small gymnasium and open it up for use by other residents of the building, which, for all its luxury, doesn’t have a common exercise room.
Angelo and his wife already live in the Dakota. They acquired the basement space from a departing resident, Juliana Curran Terian, who sold her apartment for $20.5 million in January. That unit was once owned by the composer Leonard Bernstein. She sold the storage room separately.
While $801,000 may sound like a lot for a basement den that cannot legally be used as a dwelling, it isn’t unusual to see well-off Manhattanites paying top dollar for auxiliary space, said real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller.