Cyril Josh Barker | 4/12/2011, 5:24 p.m.
In response to the verdict, Sharpton is calling an emergency meeting for all of the nation's civil rights leaders in Washington, D.C., and said that it's time to go back to the streets to get fairness from the police and the government.
"Cleary, we must turn up the temperature," he said. "It's time for us to escalate the anti-police brutality movement and it's time for this to be front and center in the state election. Rather than us talking about a bunch of hogwash and gossip about people who are running for office, why aren't we challenging them on what they are going to do about Omar Edwards, Michael Mineo and Sean Bell?"
Mineo plans to go through with his $440 million civil suit against the city. He is also calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to look at the case.
News of the verdict sent shockwaves across the city from leading Black activists who say that the decision is another example of the NYPD running amok.
Marquez Claxton of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance called the verdict a "disturbingly predicable outcome" and is recommending the Department of Justice get involved.
"This verdict sends a chilling message to victims of police violence and criminality. The existing system of investigating and prosecuting police officers needs to be restructured so that 'justice for all' can be achieved," Claxton said. "Under the current system, police officers are too often protected by an implied immunity, regardless of how heinous the allegations are. Judges, juries and prosecutors repeatedly give the benefit of all doubt to the police officer, regardless of the circumstances."
Brooklyn City Councilman Charles Barron said that Monday's verdict is another miscarriage of justice and a "dangerous precedent." He, too, is calling on those who wish to be elected in the upcoming state political races to speak on the matter.
He said, "This is totally out of hand. I don't know what to tell our people anymore. The system let these officers go again. You let them go with Bell and 50 bullets and now you let them go with this. People are going to find means to protect themselves not only from common criminals but the criminals in blue suits who are supposed to protect us."