Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thank You Sean and Nicole Bell

On July 28, 2010, Sean and Nicole Bell finally got some level of relief in connection to his November 25, 2006 murder on the eve of their wedding date. Justice? Not quite. Some relief? Yes. The city of New York settled the wrongful death suit in connection to his murder and the injuries to his friends, who were also shot, for over $7 million, a little over $3 million to Sean's estate and the remaining amount to be split between the 2 surviving friends. I've followed this story since it happened. It is one that has stayed with me for years. It was an awful tragedy. A young, gorgeous, black man at the age of 23 was gunned down with over 50 shots fired by 3 off duty police officers on the eve of his wedding to his high school sweetheart and mother of his two young daughters. He was unarmed and celebrating his impending marriage with his friends and then he was dead. It really doesn't get any worse than that. Here we are in the 21st century and young black men were still targets and it was sad and scary and disappointing. I always just felt so bad for Nicole as she tried to garner justice and awareness, not just for Sean, but for US! She was just a young, beautiful mother and then she wasn't. She was burdened with the task of never having married the love of her life, raising her two daughters by herself, living with the memory of the gruesomeness of his death, and now tasked with the responsibility of getting justice for Sean. It wasn't fair. I could always see the grief and sadness in her face and voice when she recounted the story and talked about how things were not progressing, how awful she was treated by the police the day he was murdered, how disappointed she was when the police officers were acquitted of any criminal responsibility, when federal civil rights charges were declined, as she pursued the wrongful death settlement and as she continued to lobby for changes in police policy to help avoid another young man from being murdered. I'm thankful for her for keeping up with the cause and continuing the fight for US despite not having her love besides her. I know if she could trade it all in she'd rather just be married to Sean and raising her children with their father. I pray that this settlement brings some calm in the storm knowing that even in death Sean was able to provide for her and the children, that she could do something with him that would be beneficial to them forever. Thank you Nicole and thank you Sean, your memory and your death was not in vain. I can raise my young, black gorgeous son knowing that someone, aside from me, sacrificed for him. I pray Nicole's continued strength in her pursuit and some day very soon in her very young life she can have the level of peace she needs to enjoy her daughters and the rest of her life.

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