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Judge Finds Sean Bell Detectives Not Guilty

From the inimitable New York Post:

SEAN BELL DETECTIVES FOUND NOT GUILTY

By IKIMULISA LIVINGSTON and CLEMENTE LISI

April 25, 2008 — Three undercover detectives who unleashed a 50-bullet barrage that killed Sean Bell were found not guilty this morning on all charges.

Queens Supreme Court Judge Arthur Cooperman, who delivered the verdict, said many of the prosecution’s witnesses, including Bell’s friends, were not credible.

“The people have not proved beyond a reasonable doubt” that each defendant was justified in shooting, said Cooperman, before saying the detectives were not guilty of all of the eight counts, five felonies and three misdemeanors against them.

After the verdict was delivered in Queens Supreme Court, Detectives Michael Oliver, Gescard Isnora and Marc Cooper – who never took the stand during the trial — were escorted to a side door.

Bell’s family sat silently as Cooperman spoke from the bench.

Oliver and Isnora, who faced the most serious charges, could have been given 25 years behind bars if found guilty, while Cooper could have served a year.

Oliver, who showed no emotion during the two-month trial, wiped tears from his eyes. Isnora hugged his lawyer Anthony Ricco, while Cooper stood motionless with no expression on his face.

The two-month trial was decided by Cooperman, 74, after the three cops waived their right to a jury trial.

The detectives could still face departmental charges, as could Lt. Gary Napoli, the supervisor in charge the night of the shooting.

The verdict prompted Bell supporters to storm out of the courtroom, and screams could be heard in the hallway.

Outside the Kew Gardens courthouse, dozens of Bell supporters, who had assembled hours before the 9 a.m. verdict was read, shouted, “Murderers!” and “Guilty” amid a sea of uniformed police officers and court officers who tried to maintain order on the street.

The Rev. Al Sharpton and Bell’s family, including Sean’s fiancée Nicole Paultre-Bell, were taken to a small room inside the courthouse to compose themselves. They emerged an hour later without saying anything.

Bell’s grief-stricken mother, Valerie, was later seen passing out in the parking lot as family and friends escorted her to a car.

The verdict comes 17 months to the day since the Nov. 25, 2006 shooting of Bell, 23, and his friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, outside Club Kalua in Jamaica, hours before the father of two was to be married.

Oliver, who reloaded his 9mm semiautomatic Sig Sauer, fired 31 bullets, while Isnora, whose leg was hit by Bell’s car, squeezed off 11 shots. Cooper fired four bullets, including one that hit the nearby Jamaica AirTrain station.

Bell and several friends were winding up an all-night bachelor party at the club, which had been the target of an NYPD undercover unit…

Of course there will be demonstrations led by the master race-baiter, Mr. Sharpton. And probably — as the media hopes — riots.

But it seems like a fair verdict.

The detectives were surely smart to waive their rights to a jury trial.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, April 25th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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