Sean Bell Trial Verdict – Cops Acquitted WTF?!?!

Posted: April 25, 2008 in Hip Hop (No Sucka Shit)
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Graph – Walk with the heart of a panther

Three detectives were found not guilty Friday morning on all charges in the November, 2006, shooting death of Sean Bell, who died in a hail of 50 police bullets outside a club in Jamaica, Queens.

The verdict prompted several supporters of Mr. Bell to storm out of the courtroom, and screams could be heard in the hallway moments later.The verdict comes 17 months to the day since the Nov. 25, 2006, shooting of Mr. Bell, 23, and his friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, outside the Club Kalua in Jamaica, Queens, hours before Mr. Bell was to be married.

It was delivered in a pack courtroom and was heard by, among others, the slain man’s parents and his fiancee. About 150 Bell supporters had been gathered outside the Queens Criminal Court building before the verdict, handing out leaflets.

The seven-week trial, which ended April 14, was heard by Justice Arthur J. Cooperman of State Supreme Court in Queens. The defendants waived their right to a jury in January, a strategy some lawyers called risky at the time. But it clearly paid off with Friday’s verdict.The detectives were charged collectively with committing eight crimes amid the 50 gunshots that brought worldwide attention. Detectives Isnora and Oliver faced the most charges: first- and second-degree manslaughter, with a possible sentence of 25 years in prison; felony assault, first and second degree; and a misdemeanor, reckless endangerment, with a possible one-year sentence. Detective Oliver also faces a second count of first-degree assault. Detective Marc Cooper was charged only with two counts of reckless endangerment.

During the 26 days of testimony, the prosecution sought to show, with an array of 50 witnesses, that the shooting was the act of a frightened, even enraged group of disorganized police officers who began their shift that night hoping to arrest a prostitute or two and, in suspecting Mr. Bell and his friends of possessing a gun, quickly got in over their heads.

“We ask police to risk their lives to protect ours,” said an assistant district attorney, Charles A. Testagrossa, in his closing arguments. “Not to risk our lives to protect their own.”

The defense, through weeks of often heated cross-examinations, their own witnesses and the words of the detectives themselves, portrayed the shooting as the tragic end to a nonetheless justified confrontation, with Detective Isnora having what it called solid reasons to believe he was the only thing standing between Mr. Bell’s car and a drive-by shooting around the corner.

Several witnesses testified that they heard talk of guns in an argument between Mr. Bell and a stranger, Fabio Coicou, outside Kalua, an argument, the defense claimed, that was fueled by bravado and Mr. Bell’s intoxicated state. Defense lawyers pointed their fingers at Mr. Guzman, who, they said, in shouting for Mr. Bell to drive away when Detective Isnora approached, may have instigated his death.

Detective Isnora told grand jurors last year that he clipped his badge to his collar and drew his gun, shouting, “Police! Don’t move!” as he approached Mr. Bell’s Nissan Altima.

Other witnesses, mostly friends of Mr. Bell, said they never heard shouts of “Police!” Mr. Guzman and Mr. Benefield testified that they had no idea that Detective Guzman was a police officer when he walked up with his gun drawn.

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Comments
  1. Busmcrs says:

    Damn another reality check for us minorities. fucking cops are going to continue to shoot to kill.

  2. 2Negative says:

    No matter how you look at it, pork will always kill you.

  3. Skeematics says:

    aiyt, so let me get this straight. You can walk free if you are a cop that fires 50 shots and kills an unarmed man on his wedding day…. but you go to jail for 3 years if you are a black actor that doesnt pay his taxes.

    Where the fuck is the balance of this shit? this is straight up fuckery.

  4. Blaqlocust says:

    You know the world is coming to an end when this consistently occurs!

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