The Bell Verdict and the Queens Borough President Race

Councilman Leroy Comrie is taking a hard line against the police officers and officials involved in the Sean Bell shooting.

Speaking to reporters after a press conference in Jamaica, Comrie said the Police Department should “remove the lieutenant, the commanding officer, the head of the division. They all need to be, I think, fired."

Later, he added, “We cannot look for the commissioner to do anything less than the full intent to show that he wants to have a professional Police Department with the best tactics and the best resources available.”

Comrie’s reaction is notable politically because his likely opponent in the Queens borough president race next year, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., came to the defense of the Police Department today.

A statement from Vallone, who is head of the City Council Public Safety Committee, said, "Officers have a very difficult job, and in this instance something went terribly wrong. But the court has decided that these officers are not criminals."

Here’s Vallone’s full statement:

"This is a tragedy for everyone. No verdict would bring back the life of Sean Bell and heal the pain of his family. Officers have a very difficult job, and in this instance something went terribly wrong. But the court has decided that these officers are not criminals," Vallone said. "We have already begun to learn from this tragedy and improve. My Public Safety Committee has already had three hearings—on undercover training, police monitoring, and community policing—and we have one on stop and frisk policy to come. The important thing now is to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again."