The killing of an unarmed bridegroom last weekend by New York City police officers who fired 50 shots was an indication of police disregard of the “essential humanity of black people,” says Bob Herbert, a New York Times columnist. Herbert, who has been reporting on the story, says that the shooting victims “were not seen as human beings who have to be treated with respect.” Herbert disagreed with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The mayor asserted that the incident did not have racial implications because, although the victim was black, so were two of the undercover officers who took part.
Herbert said he was told by the Queens, N.Y., District Attorney’s office that the officers in the episode might not be interrogated for several weeks. Calling that “insane,” Herbert said “the authorities and the public need to know what they say happened. These are police officers who work for us who did the shooting.” Herbert spoke at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York at a panel discussion on race and the justice system. The event was sponsored by John Jay and the Institute for Justice and Journalism of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California.