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by Peter Moskos

February 27, 2008

But that's my car!

A witness at the trial of the officers who shot Sean Bell testified today. She was a topless dancer at the club. Leaving aside all the real issues, I noticed something most people probably missed from her testimony: this woman is no stranger to crime scenes.

Put yourself in her shoes: You’ve just had a long night dancing, you’re leaving, you’re walking to your car when suddenly you see a man jump out of car and start shooting at another car. You dive behind some bushes, hear 50 shots in total, cars running into things, and no doubt there’s some screaming and yelling.

What would you do? Probably not what Ms. Payne did. According to the Times:
After two or three minutes, she ran back to her car so she could move it before the police arrived, but she was too late, arriving to see paramedics pulling bodies from Mr. Bell’s car.

She's right, too. If your car is on the wrong side when the crime-scene tape goes up, it’s going to be a long time before you get to move those wheels. If your car happens to have a bullet in it, it's even worse.

Such is one of the many petty frustrations of living in a high-crime neighborhood.

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