NEW YORK: Police kill groom in hail of bullets

The families of Sean Bell and Nicole Paultre had been looking forward to dancing at their wedding, Nov. 25. Instead they stood with hundreds of their neighbors in grief and anger protesting the police killing of Bell, 23, that very morning.

Bell left his bachelor party at a cabaret with four friends at 4 a.m. Trini Wright, a dancer at the club, was going to a diner with the men, putting her make-up bag in the trunk of the car, when “the [unmarked police] minivan came around the corner and smashed into their car,” she told the New York Daily News. “And they [plainclothes police] jumped out shooting. No ‘stop.’ No ‘freeze.’ No nothing.”

Police fired over 50 bullets at the unarmed group, fatally hitting Bell twice, wounding Joseph Guzman 11 times and hitting Trent Benefield with three bullets — all three African Americans. One officer fired his gun 31 times. Guzman remains in critical condition and Benefield is in stable condition. Both men were shackled to their hospital beds. Their car had 21 bullet holes. Police bullets shattered windows in a nearby train station and residents’ homes. Two transit police were injured by flying glass.

“We cannot allow this to continue to happen,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, spokesman for the Bell family. “We’ve got to understand that all of us were in that car.”

Five police officers were placed on paid administrative leave and stripped of their guns. An investigation is under way. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly met with community leaders on Nov. 27.

AROUND THE NATION: NOW leaders elected to office

As the smoke continues to clear following the firestorm that hit the GOP Nov. 7, big changes are under way at the state level, especially regarding reproductive rights.

Susan Chew, Idaho National Organization for Women president, became the first Chinese-American ever elected to the state Legislature.

Freeport, Maine, voters sent NOW national board member Beth Edmonds back to the state Senate for her fourth term. She currently serves as the Senate’s president.

NARAL-Pro Choice’s public policy director and former NOW state president, Sue Errington, will represent Muncie, Ind., in the state Senate.

Anne Gannon, former NOW Florida state president, won her first countywide election in Palm Beach County and will take her seat as tax collector in January.

Terry Schooley, former NOW Delaware state president, is taking women’s and children’s issues to the state House representing Newark residents.

Birmingham, Ala., voters elected former NOW national staffer Patricia Todd the first openly LGBT member of the state House.

In Maryland, NOW Mid-Atlantic Region Director Duchy Trachtenberg won election to the Montgomery County Council as a representative at-large.

Cathy Webb, who served as NOW’s national secretary and president of Arkansas Stonewall Democrats, was elected to the Arkansas Legislature, becoming the first openly LGBT person to sit in that chamber.

The U.S. ranks 22nd among 115 countries in electing women to office, according to a recent World Economic Forum report.

MAMARONECK, N.Y.: Court rules town discriminated against Latinos

Although she did not hand down a remedy, Federal Judge Colleen McMahon ruled that the village of Mamaroneck, about 25 miles north of New York City, routinely violated the civil rights of Latin American workers. Workers and Mamaroneck officials have until Dec. 6 to present the court with solutions to end the discrimination.

“Since August 2004, and continuing into this past summer, the defendants [Mamaroneck officials] have engaged in a campaign designed to drive out the Latino day laborers who gather on the streets of Mamaroneck to seek work,” Judge McMahon wrote. “The fact that the day laborers were Latinos, and not whites, was, at least in part, a motivating factor in the defendants’ actions.”

The village closed a hiring site and increased police patrols and checkpoints “only against persons who appeared to be interested in hiring day laborers,” the judge said.

“We’re very pleased,” said Cesar Perales, president of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which represented the workers. “The court found that indeed Mamaroneck had engaged in intentional discrimination and was motivated by racism.”

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards (dwinebr696 @ aol.com).

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