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Sean Bell

Protesters and police, after the Sean Bell verdict.
Protesters and police, after the Sean Bell verdict.
Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

Last Friday, a judge acquitted three New York City police officers of all charges in the shooting death of Sean Bell. In 2006, Gescard Isnora, Marc Cooper, and Michael Oliver fired 50 bullets at Bell and his friends, outside a club in Queens.

After the verdict, community leaders and political activists, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, called for protests and acts of civil disobedience. "We strategically know how to stop the city so people stand still and realize that you do not have the right to shoot down unarmed, innocent citizens with no probable cause," Sharpton said. "This city is going to deal with the blood of Sean Bell."

On Sunday, The New York Times published "The Fear Behind the Badge," by Kyle Murphy, a former police officer, now a student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. "The police are always second-guessed when they use deadly physical force," he wrote.

We'll talk with several people, including Murphy, about the relationship between citizens and police officers. Who trusts whom? What is your reaction to the Sean Bell verdict? What could cops do to earn more trust in the communities in which they serve? If you live outside of New York City, have you talked about the Sean Bell case with your friends, coworkers, and loved ones?

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


David Gura
Based in New York, David Gura is a correspondent on NPR's business desk. His stories are broadcast on NPR's newsmagazines, All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and he regularly guest hosts 1A, a co-production of NPR and WAMU.