Luis Soto was shot to death after fighting with another man in Harlem early Sunday morning. Now, police say Soto was killed not by his attacker, but by a police bullet. Remember Sean Bell? Everyone will, like it or not.
Sean Bell was unarmed when he was killed in a hail of police gunfire—50 shots—in 2006. Soto's case is not as clear cut. He had a gun, police say. He got into a fistfight with another man, Angel Alvarez, while leaving a Harlem block party early Sunday morning. According to the latest version of events from the NYPD, Alvarez managed to take Soto's pistol, then stood up and fired one or two shots at an approaching police officer.
Three other officers approached and began shooting. In all, police fired 46 bullets. Alvarez, the man with the gun, was shot 21 times, but is still alive. Soto was shot five times: perhaps once by Alvarez, but the fatal bullet came from a police gun. Two police officers were wounded—at least one by another police officer's bullet. Three bystanders were also wounded by gunfire. It's not clear who shot them all, but percentages tell us it was probably the police. Remember the "50 shots" rallying cry of the Sean Bell protesters? Says the NYT:
[All] but 4 of the 50 shots fired in the melee came from the police, officials said...
The 46 bullets were the most fired by the police in a single episode since the 2006 shooting of Sean Bell, who was killed and two of his friends wounded in a barrage of 50 police bullets.
Don't call it a comeback.