Shem Walker Funeral is “The Shame of the City” and a Call For Justice

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Shem Walker Funeral is “The Shame of the City” and a Call For Justice
7/23/09

The funeral for Shem Joseph Walker was an emotionally-charged service, as the family was in shock not only from his death, but in the way he died: Shot in front of his home by an undercover police officer who was sitting on Walker’s stoop and whom Walker mistook for a drug dealer and told to leave.
“If he had been sick, I would understand,” said his wife Valory, “But not this.  Not like this, I don’t believe it was time for Shem to go.  I’ve know Shem half my life and we will get justice.” 
Councilwoman Letitia James told the family that in the aftermath of this ongoing tragedy, the funeral “was just a comma, not the end.”  And that she, “Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery and Congressman Ed Towns will continue to pres for justice in this case.”
Assemblyman Jeffries  noted that “A lot of things have been said about what has happened and a lot will be said in the weeks to come.   But one fact should be clear to anyone, even those whose vision may be blurred.  And that’s if the NYPD had not trespassed on the stoop of 370 Lafayette Avenue, Shem Walker would be alive today.”

In his eulogy, Reverend Al Sharpton of the National Action Network spoke movingly about the pain of a parent burying a child and about the familiar responses of the city authorities.   “Every time they have one of these situations, they try to make the victim the victimizer.  And try to dig up some mess. Well they can’t dispute the fact that he came on his front stoop and saw someone who had no business there, and he ended up being killed by someone we’re told was undercover police.”
Sharpton said that if the job of the undercover officer was to remove drug dealers and criminals and he was confronted by a man telling him to get off the stoop because he didn’t tolerate that activity, “then how can you be in conflict with somebody there to enforce what you’re supposed to be undercover for?”
Sharpton said that the police claim there was an argument, but again he asks, “How could they get into an argument?   If you’re there to stop drug dealers and he’s telling you he doesn’t allow drug dealers on his property, why is there an argument?  What could you argue with him about?”
Sharpton noted that the issue of whether or not there were witnesses or if the undercover officer said “police” would only be relevant if the policeman had been harmed.  “Nobody harmed him, he did the harming.  The issue is why did he hurt someone who was on their own property, protecting their mother.”
“The arrogance that we keep hearing as they justify themselves whenever we lose a life,” is not a good enough response any more says Sharpton.  “This is not about black or white.  This was a black cop.  This is about what’s right.  You cannot hide behind your badge or your blackness.  We will not be treated like this in his city.”

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