Really, What the Bell?

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• Remember yesterday's sensational admission by a Queens drug dealer that he was once shot — "in the buttocks" — by the future police victim Sean Bell? Disregard. Not only is the guy backtracking, he denies ever saying it to the cops (who say they have it on tape). [NYP]
• Meanwhile, in the wake of the Village gunman's rampage, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the city is giving its 4,500 auxiliary cops bulletproof vests (at the cost of more than $2 million). Thing is, though, one of the two slain officers was wearing a vest. [amNY]
• And another cop got shot in the ankle. In Park Slope. By a guy who was facing nothing more serious than a possession charge (he was spotted smoking a joint on the street). Great. [NYDN]
• The home-buying boom's worst-case scenario is playing out in Newark, which has one of the highest concentrations of brutal "subprime loans" in the country: Staggering debt and foreclosures are close to wiping out entire neighborhoods. [NYT]
• And a city councilwoman is proposing a citywide ban on all exotic animal performers, timed to coincide with the circus' arrival at the Madison Square Garden. We wouldn't be the first, either — progressive places from Pasadena to Provincetown have already passed the proposal. [MetroNY]