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Last Updated: Monday, 27 November 2006, 10:49 GMT
NY rally deplores police shooting
Sean Bell and his fiancee (undated photo)
Mr Bell had been on his stag night
A crowd led by civil rights leader Al Sharpton has rallied after police shot dead an unarmed black man in New York.

Sean Bell, 23, was killed as he left a strip club on Saturday morning, hours before he was to have been married.

Two friends were hurt when police fired an estimated 50 bullets at the men's car. Officials said police had acted fearing an armed "altercation".

Sunday's rally heard calls for the city police chief "to go". He is due to meet community leaders over the killing.

"We cannot allow this to continue to happen," Rev Sharpton told the rally outside the hospital where one of the wounded men was in a critical condition.

"We've got to understand that all of us were in that car."

'Stinks'

Five officers have been placed on leave during an inquiry into the shooting outside the Kalua Club, at the end of Mr Bell's stag night celebrations.

POLICE VIOLENCE
Timothy Thomas, 2001: Unarmed black teenager shot by white officer in Cincinnati while fleeing. Death sparked days of rioting in city
Patrick Dorismond, 2000: Unarmed black man killed in bungled drugs sting in New York, in a death which drew protests
Amadou Diallo, 1999: West African immigrant killed when white police mistook his wallet for gun. Four officers acquitted; family given $3m
Rodney King, 1991: Black man badly beaten by LA police after resisting arrest for speeding, in videotaped attack. Acquittal of officers led to riots in 1992. Mr King given $3.8m

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been in contact with Mr Bell's family, and plans to meet community leaders with police chief Raymond Kelly amid mounting protests from the city's black community.

Rev Sharpton has said the shooting "stinks" and has criticised the police for handcuffing the two men receiving emergency care for their injuries in hospital.

One of Mr Bell's passengers, Joseph Guzman, was hit by at least 11 bullets and is in a critical condition.

The other passenger, Trent Benefield, was hit three times and is in a stable condition.

No weapons were found on the three men or in their car.

New York police have faced criticism over other shootings of unarmed black men in recent years.

In 1999, officers fired 41 bullets at unarmed Amadou Diallo, which led to a wave of protests. The four officers involved were acquitted of all charges.

Surveillance

Mr Kelly has accepted that it was unclear why Saturday's shooting started, or whether his detectives had identified themselves as police officers.

Al Sharpton, flanked by relatives of the injured men
Al Sharpton said the police must explain its actions

Police opened fire on the car carrying the men after it reportedly struck an unmarked police vehicle.

The club was under surveillance because of its long history of weapons complaints, drug-dealing and prostitution, Mr Kelly said.

Mr Kelly said the three men were also being watched.

He said an undercover officer at the club had reported that the men were in a group involved in a dispute with another person outside the club.

The officer had reportedly called his colleagues saying he feared a gun would be produced.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Protesters demonstrate their anger over the shooting



SEE ALSO
NY police kill man on wedding day
26 Nov 06 |  Americas

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