Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Verdict

We knew it was coming, and as Native New Yorkers, we were bracing ourselves for the verdict. As an NYPD Family, we were particularly interested in seeing the outcome; the story had been dominating the news for quite some time by the time Roc became a cop.
Perhaps you remember the tragic shooting of Dean Rell: a 23-year-old black man out on the town the night before his wedding. It happened in Queens in November 2006. Rocco had yet to become a member of the NYPD. By the time he reached the Academy, they were using the scenario as a teaching tool.

Here's the gist: Dean Rell was out with some buddies the night before his wedding, getting drunk at a strip club. Unbeknownst to him, there were three undercover officers also at the club. What the public swept right into the background in the aftermath of the shooting was this: those three officers were there because there had been reports of 13-year-old girls stripping at this club; drug use was verified, and they were there trying to save these children. Dean and two buddies exited the club in the wee hours of the morning. The undercover officers had reason to believe that the trio left to go to their car and retrieve a gun to settle a dispute inside the club. One officer opened fire after being hit by the car; in the end Dean was dead, and his friends injured.
The media went nuts. The chaos was unreal. Al Sharpton trotted his posse out post-haste: police brutality charges were bandied about, starting with this case, and edging back over years and several incidences. Even though two of the police officers were black, the black community was outraged by what had happened that night. I can remember it being the lead story on the nightly news for weeks.

Fast-forward to April 2008. Roc had been on the job for just a few months. Winter had moved into Spring and his SoB community was coming alive at night; more people out on the streets, and therefore each tour was busier than the last.
The media had been predicting the verdict to be announced on a Friday; Roc and all the cops were not thrilled about the timing. Potential unrest was considered, and the NYPD posted 1,000 officers outside the courthouse on the day the verdict was due to come in. I for one was concerned; I was concerned for the cops on trial, my husband and his fellow cops who would be on patrol right after the verdict was read, and I was concerned about the city as a whole. I would be lying to you if I told you I didn't also have a thought or two towards the fiancee, who watched her intended as well as her dreams die, all in one tragic moment.

Looking back, I'm not at all surprised by the way the night turned out.

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