NEW YORK (AP) – The man gunned down in a spray of 50 police bullets was buried Saturday as hundreds of angry demonstrators honored him with a moment of silence before going jaw-to-jaw with police in a bitter confrontation outside a Queens precinct house.

Tensions were high in the neighborhood where 23-year-old Sean Bell was killed one week ago outside a local nightclub, with demonstrators waving signs proclaiming “Death to the pigs” and “Shoot back.” The protesters marched to the 103rd Precinct, where only a metal barricade separated them from a row of police officers.

The demonstrators taunted the police, standing just inches away and daring the officers to lay a hand on them.

The “March of Outrage” organized by the New Black Panther Party came one week after Bell was killed and his friends Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman were wounded when police opened fire on the unarmed trio outside the strip club Kalua. The Saturday demonstration began outside the club, moved around the corner to the spot of the shooting and then continued to the precinct.

Guzman was upgraded from critical to stable condition Saturday, and Benefield remained stable. Both were recovering at Mary Immaculate Hospital in Queens.

Outside the hospital Saturday evening, an attorney for the two reiterated that they do not believe there was a fourth person in the car before the shooting as police suggest, and an undercover officer did not identify himself and flash his badge to the men in the car.

“Neither of the victims who are hospitalized, their bodies riddled with bullets, saw a badge or heard a command that the man who was holding a gun was a police officer,” said attorney Sanford Rubenstein.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown was investigating the case against the five officers involved, including one who fired 31 times. Civil rights leaders including Rev. Al Sharpton have called for murder charges.

“Fifty shots from the New York cops!” the crowd chanted at the march before the moment of silence. Police reported no arrests at the demonstration.

The march began shortly after Bell, 23, was buried in Port Washington on Long Island. One night earlier, his funeral

was held in the same church where he was to be married hours after he was shot.

Among those in the crowd was Starr Nelson, a Queens woman with two sons – one 24 years old, the other 25. She said relations between the police and local residents were antagonistic even before the shooting.

“It could have been my son,” she said. “(The police) need to start seeing people as people, not animals. You don’t even shoot at an animal 50 times.”

On Friday, an overflow crowd of tearful mourners paid their respects to Bell inside the Community Church of Christ in Queens. Bell and his two friends were celebrating his bachelor party before the shooting.


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