Some fights are clearly not worth fighting. We had hoped the community, police and city would move on after the city Law Department agreed to award roughly $7 million to Nicole Paultre-Bell, whose fiance, Sean Bell, was killed in a hail of police bullets and two other men who survived the shooting.
But that may not be the case. City Detectives Endowment Association President Michael Palladino said last week, “I thought the settlement was excessive. It did not take into account Sean Bell’s behavior and culpability in the entire incident.” The DEA had represented the officers involved in the incident. The officers were cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.
The shooting was tragic and a mistake. The NYPD policy regarding the use of firearms was not followed. Two children lost a father and Paultre-Bell lost the man she expected to spend the rest of her life with. The community’s trust in the police was shattered.
Leroy Gadsden, president of the Jamaica branch of the NAACP, called the settlement, “symbolic justice — it’s not complete justice. I wish we had a better deal in the criminal justice system.”
We do not question the intentions of the police officers involved. They were risking their lives backing up an undercover operation in a dangerous part of Queens. But nothing in those early morning hours justified firing 50 shots at three unarmed men.
Palladino and the DEA should back off now and give the community time to heal.
Better Late Than Never
The good news is that the state Legislature has finally approved a budget. The vote came more than four months late, but it finally happened.
The bad news is the Legislature decided to pick your pocket to balance the budget rather than cut wasteful spending — that is, it will pick your pocket if you can still afford to buy pants. The new budget ends the current sales tax exemption on shoes and clothing purchases under $110. This will hit low-income New Yorkers the hardest.
The reinstatement of the sales tax is expected to generate more than $330 million in revenue. That will happen if people do not decide to go to New Jersey to make their clothing purchases. If that happens, the state and businesses will lose money.