Officers Acquitted In Sean Bell Shooting!!!


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MarcusWendt
April 25, 2008, 11:55 AM
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89937894&ft=1&f=1001

NPR.org, April 25, 2008 A New York judge has found three police officers not guilty in the death of an unarmed black man who was hit by a barrage of bullets and died hours before his wedding.

Justice Arthur Cooperman cleared two officers of manslaughter and other charges and a third of reckless endangerment in the death of Sean Bell, 23. Along with two friends, Bell was shot after a bachelor party at a Queens strip club on Nov. 25, 2006. Bullets struck Bell 50 times.

The case has generated outrage in New York's black community. A crowd of at least 200 people gathered outside the building, waiting for news of a verdict. Some wore buttons with Bell's picture or held signs saying "Justice for Sean Bell."

Dozens of people in the crowd began crying after hearing the verdict.

Defense attorneys painted the victims as drunken and unruly and asserted that officers had reason to believe they were armed and dangerous. Prosecutors tried to convince the judge that the officers were inept and trigger-happy.

None of the officers took the witness stand in his own defense. Instead, Cooperman heard transcripts of the officers testifying before a grand jury, saying they believed they had good reason to use deadly force.

The judge told the court that the police officers' version of events was more credible than the victims' version, and that prosecutors had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the shootings were unjustified.

Mayor Bloomberg released a statement immediately saying there were no winners in this trial, given the loss to Bell's family and fiancee. Bell's family and community activist Al Sharpon have not yet addressed the media.

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buzz_knox
April 25, 2008, 11:58 AM
Given that one of the "witnesses" (a friend of the groom's) apparently admitted to lying in order to frame the cops, this isn't a surprise.

HOME DEPOT GEORGE
April 25, 2008, 12:03 PM
Has the rioting started yet?

jimmyraythomason
April 25, 2008, 12:09 PM
Hmmm...an unarmed man shot 50 times by police. I am usually opposed to ANYTHING that Al (Tawana Brawly, sp)Sharpton is involved in but 50 times!

Chipperman
April 25, 2008, 12:10 PM
an unarmed man shot 50 times by police

He was in a moving vehicle.

csmkersh
April 25, 2008, 12:15 PM
I posted this elsewhere with the title, "The Fix Was In."

ByAnyMeans
April 25, 2008, 12:17 PM
There are a lot of different angles that have to be considered from a "moving vehicle" and "witness stating he lied to set up the cops" to the other side of it with "50" shots fired. Ultimately a judge with all the evidence made a decision based on the law. It's not going to be a popular one and he seems to have made a tough call given the implicatons it may have for the city and his career. It's good in the days of activist judges to see one make an unpopular decision based on evidence and rule of law. NO the rioting has not started although there have been a few skirmishes on Queens Blvd. outside the courthouse and down the street. there is no major problems yet and they may be avoided. That being said both 12 gauges shall be loaded for a few days as oppossed to one.


*what FIX, given the state of NYC and the calls for the cops heads the fix would be to find them guilty no matter what which did not happen.

mojohand
April 25, 2008, 12:30 PM
just curious, what kind of gun was he shooting? 50 shots is a lot for a hand gun; how many times did he re-load?

jerkface11
April 25, 2008, 12:31 PM
Did anyone expect this to turn out differently?

kingpin008
April 25, 2008, 12:34 PM
Mojohand - the 50 shots were between all of the officers. They had standard-issue Glocks, but one of the cops ran his dry and reloaded, for a total of 30 or so rounds just by himself.

Sergeant Sabre
April 25, 2008, 12:54 PM
just curious, what kind of gun was he shooting? 50 shots is a lot for a hand gun; how many times did he re-load?

When you have a few cops shooting, the round-count goes up in a hurry. If you stress-fire and just lay on the trigger as fast as they can (as many people do in a :what: situation), you can zip off ten rounds in a real big hurry. Two or three, or a team of four or five police can rack up a lot of rounds in a matter of an average two or three second shootout.

I hate it when the round-count is used by media types and the public as evidence of an unjustified shooting. The round-count simply is not evidence.

strat81
April 25, 2008, 12:56 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080425/ap_on_re_us/police_shooting
3 NYPD detectives acquitted in 50-shot killing

By TOM HAYS, Associated Press Writer 6 minutes ago

Three detectives were acquitted of all charges Friday in the 50-shot killing of an unarmed groom-to-be on his wedding day, a case that put the NYPD at the center of another dispute involving allegations of excessive firepower.

Scores of police officers surrounded the courthouse to guard against potential chaos, and as news of the verdict spread, many began weeping. Others were enraged, swearing and screaming "Murderers! Murderers!" or "KKK!"

Inside the courtroom, spectators gasped. Sean Bell's fiancee immediately walked out of the room; his mother cried.

Bell, a 23-year-old black man, was killed in a hail of gunfire outside a seedy strip club in Queens on Nov. 25, 2006 as he was leaving his bachelor party with two friends. The case ignited the emotions of people across the city and led to widespread protests among those who felt the officers used unnecessary force.

Officers Michael Oliver, 36, and Gescard Isnora, 29, stood trial for manslaughter while Officer Marc Cooper, 40, was charged with reckless endangerment. Two other shooters weren't charged. Oliver squeezed off 31 shots; Isnora fired 11 rounds; and Cooper shot four times.

The case brought back painful memories of other NYPD shootings, such as the 1999 shooting of Amadou Diallo — an African immigrant who was gunned down in a hail of 41 bullets by police officers who mistook his wallet for a gun. The acquittal of the officers in that case created a storm of protest, with hundreds arrested after taking to the streets in demonstration.

Though emotions ran high, there were no immediate problems outside the courthouse Friday, where many wore buttons with Bell's picture or held signs saying "Justice for Sean Bell." Some people approached police after the verdict was read, but they were held back and the jostling died down quickly.

William Hardgraves, 48, an electrician from Harlem, brought his 12-year-old son and 23-year-old daughter to hear the verdict. "It could have been my son, it could have been my daughter" shot like Bell that night, he said.

He didn't know what result he had expected.

"I hoped it would be different this time. They shot him 50 times," Hardgraves said. "But of course, it wasn't."

Justice Arthur Cooperman delivered the verdict in a packed Queens courtroom. The officers, complaining that pretrial publicity had unfairly painted them as cold-blooded killers, opted to have the judge decide the case rather than a jury.

Cooperman indicated that the police officers' version of events was more credible than the victims' version. "The people have not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that each defendant was not justified" in firing, he said.

The nearly two-month trial was marked by deeply divergent accounts of the night.

The defense painted the victims as drunken thugs who the officers believed were armed and dangerous. Prosecutors sought to convince the judge that the victims had been minding their own business, and that the officers were inept, trigger-happy aggressors.

None of the officers took the witness stand in his own defense. Instead, Cooperman heard transcripts of the officers testifying before a grand jury, saying they believed they had good reason to use deadly force. The judge also heard testimony from Bell's two injured companions, who insisted the maelstrom erupted without warning.

Both sides were consistent on one point: The utter chaos surrounding the last moments of Bell's life.

"It happened so quick," Isnora said in his grand jury testimony. "It was like the last thing I ever wanted to do."

Bell's companions — Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman — also offered dramatic testimony about the episode. Benefield and Guzman were both wounded; Guzman still has four bullets lodged in his body.

Referring to Isnora, Guzman said, "This dude is shooting like he's crazy, like he's out of his mind."

The victims and shooters were set on a fateful collision course by a pair of innocuous decisions: Bell's to have a last-minute bachelor party at Kalua Cabaret, and the undercover detectives' to investigate reports of prostitution at the club.

As the club closed around 4 a.m., Sanchez and Isnora claimed they overheard Bell and his friends first flirt with women, then taunt a stranger who responded by putting his right hand in his pocket as if he had a gun. Guzman, they testified, said, "Yo, go get my gun" — something Bell's friends denied.

Isnora said he decided to arm himself, call for backup — "It's getting hot," he told his supervisor — and tail Bell, Guzman and Benefield as they went around the corner and got into Bell's car. He claimed that after warning the men to halt, Bell pulled away, bumped him and rammed an unmarked police van that converged on the scene with Oliver at the wheel.

The detective also alleged that Guzman made a sudden move as if he were reaching for a gun.

"I yelled 'Gun!' and fired," he said. "In my mind, I knew (Guzman) had a gun."

Benefield and Guzman testified that there were no orders. Instead, Guzman said, Isnora "appeared out of nowhere" with a gun drawn and shot him in the shoulder — the first of 16 shots to enter his body.

"That's all there was — gunfire," he said. "There wasn't nothing else."

With tires screeching, glass breaking and bullets flying, the officers claimed that they believed they were the ones under fire. Oliver responded by emptying his semiautomatic pistol, reloading, and emptying it again, as the supervisor sought cover.

The truth emerged when the smoke cleared: There was no weapon inside Bell's blood-splattered car.

NYPD standard issue is a 9mm Glock. Anyone know what their duty ammo is? Might be time for an upgrade. Was Guzman in the car? If so, glass or metal could've affected the bullet.

Either way... shot placement rules all.

ByAnyMeans
April 25, 2008, 01:01 PM
Jerkface: I think it depends who you talk to. Many people who could (I belive) look at the situation rationally felt it would go this way but there are many people where I live guided by emotion and a close connection ( the strip club is a 15 minute drive from where I live) that feel that these officers should have been convictyed of murder. You then throw in the racebaiters who use the tragedy for their own purposes telling everyone that it was murder etc. etc and you have alot of different opinions.



Duty ammo is 124 gr +p gold dots,
Some officers were carrying Sig Sauers

stevelyn
April 25, 2008, 01:07 PM
Well it would explain the REAL reason the polizei are goose-stepping in full battle gear and dogs in the subways and train stations.
I'm betting they anticipated an unpopular verdict.

ByAnyMeans
April 25, 2008, 01:11 PM
Yuo can see that same stuff by the cops in the subways and trains any other day of the week. The may use the verdict as an excuse but I see the Hercules teams swarming all the time no matter what court case is going on.

MarcusWendt
April 25, 2008, 01:12 PM
Well it would explain the REAL reason the polizei are goose-stepping in full battle gear and dogs in the subways and train stations.

Nothing like a nice unbiased opinion. :neener:

kingpin008
April 25, 2008, 01:14 PM
I hate it when the round-count is used by media types and the public as evidence of an unjustified shooting. The round-count simply is not evidence.

Sergeant - I don't think the issue was so much the round count in and of itself - it was that to reach that round count, one of the officers emptied his gun and reloaded, and proceeded to run it dry again without bothering to re-evaluate his situation.

ByAnyMeans
April 25, 2008, 01:19 PM
+1 Kingpin008
no threat reassessment (although to be fair, to some here a single shot would be all they need to seek murder charges)

Thernlund
April 25, 2008, 01:22 PM
Michael Oliver fired 31 shots?? He reload for crying out loud. Good lord.

50 seems pretty excessive.

Ultimately a judge with all the evidence made a decision based on the law.

Are you sure? Hmph.


-T.

EDIT: I see the reload was already mentioned. But still. Gaaa.

joshk-k
April 25, 2008, 01:24 PM
I think that the fact that the police officers waived their right to a jury and had just a judge (someone else involved in the so-called "criminal-justice" system) hear their case shows that they expected a more sympathetic verdict than a trial by the People.

Sean Bell was murdered by the pigs and they got away with it again. How do all of the people on this board who decry the erosion of civil liberties by government forces not see this as related to your RKBA struggle?

First, agents of the government murder young men and get away with it. Then they increase the police presence in the streets, subway, etc. to quell any sort of uprising that might happen (and they have good reason to fear: everyone in the city knows they've just got away with murder again).

Eventually, if the situation did escalate, they could come for your guns/other liberties. It's all in the same chain of events that history has shown again and again.

The pigs killed Sean Bell.

Josh

jimmyraythomason
April 25, 2008, 01:34 PM
Round count doesn't matter? Try to justify shooting an intruder in your home with 2 magazines. You will be in for a very bad day in court.

esq_stu
April 25, 2008, 01:38 PM
This thread should be closed IMO. Not High Road.

kingpin008
April 25, 2008, 01:39 PM
The pigs killed Sean Bell.

Josh - please remember where you are. I think we can all appreciate the...one-sidedness of this situation, but THR isn't the place for statements likes that.

Professor Gun
April 25, 2008, 01:43 PM
Referring to law enforcement officers as "pigs" is definitely not high road. Were you at the shooting? Were you in the court for all presentation of evidence? Maybe if your butt were out there on the line at 4 a.m. and facing danger you would have a better understanding of what happened.

I was not present at the shooting, I was not present in the court. I really do not know if this verdict is fair. Although it has it's share of warts and problems, we have to let our court system function and respect it. If there is evidence indicating injustice, we work to fix it the best we can.

If you are that hostile toward people in law enforcement, next time you need assistance, try calling someone else.

MASTEROFMALICE
April 25, 2008, 01:52 PM
KKK? Wasn't one of the officers black?

I didn't know the Klan was trying to diversify!

Gun Slinger
April 25, 2008, 01:53 PM
I second esq_stu's suggestion at closing this thread.

If this has to degenerate into juvenile name-calling and "cop-bashing" there is little to be learned and nothing we haven't heard already.

The case is what it is and nothing said here will change that, especially referring to LEO's as "pigs".

Regards,

The Tourist
April 25, 2008, 01:53 PM
What bothers me in this story is the semantics. The dead are listed as "victims."

If I am attacked by an "agressor" and I, the "prey," fight back and defeat him, he does not become the "victim."

He is still the agressor, and I am simply "the winner."

As to this story, I'm sure the supporters wanted to see a verdict implicating the officers. Heck, if the dead guy was a biker I'd want details.

But at the end of the day, the only cogent detail is why did the officers fire.

And if that volley of gunfire was based on cause, then the condition of the Sean Bell's status does not change to "victim." He might be an agresser, he might be a prisoner, he might be guilty of simply threatening an officer with an unseen firearm.

But he's no victim.

Thernlund
April 25, 2008, 01:57 PM
Referring to law enforcement officers as "pigs" is definitely not high road. Were you at the shooting? Were you in the court for all presentation of evidence? Maybe if your butt were out there on the line at 4 a.m. and facing danger you would have a better understanding of what happened.

I was not present at the shooting, I was not present in the court. I really do not know if this verdict is fair. Although it has it's share of warts and problems, we have to let our court system function and respect it. If there is evidence indicating injustice, we work to fix it the best we can.

Just the circumstantial evidence WE have is awful damning. Man... if this truly was justified in some fashion (and it may be), I'd sure like to hear THAT story. Wow.

Thinking about this, I imagine that it wasn't malicious cops on a rampage. What I think it likely was was a cop all charged up for whatever reason and lost control of himself. Before he knew what happened, 31 shots. His co-workers only followed his lead expecting that he knew something they didn't.

If, and only if, I have it right, Michael Oliver is guilty of severe negligence and reckless conduct. Cops are not allowed to make the same mistakes that citizens make. They are held to a higher standard. Given that, this is a mistake that NOBODY would be allowed to make. So if he lost control and flipped out, he's guilty.

I dunno. From where I sit the read on it is that it was excessive to the point where me giving him the benefit of the doubt is just about impossible. A reload? Ooof. It would take alot to convince me otherwise. It could happen, but it would take alot.


-T.

EDIT: I agree that the pig comment is out of line, BTW.

mojohand
April 25, 2008, 02:11 PM
Yeah, I feel this was excessive. If he felt threatened, he had every right and duty to protect hinself and the public. But there also has to be a line. I don't know what he was carrying, but depending on the clip he had to reload [I]at least[I]once. It seems he definately got caught up in the "action" and lost control.

As for closing this post, I don't feel that's necessary. I think this is the perfect forum to discuss these issues, but they need to be respectful. Calling the officers who put their lives on the line "pigs" is uncalled for, even if you don't agree with the verdict.

buzz_knox
April 25, 2008, 02:22 PM
This thread should be closed IMO. Not High Road.

The facts are well within the scope of discussion. The insults aren't. If people either demonstrate a minimum level of civility or get tossed for failing to do so, the facts can't be dealt with.

As much as I dislike the term, there is a synergy to shootings like this. One officer sees a threat and fires, others accept there's a threat and continue to fire until it's obvious that any threat is gone. Three officers can easily burn through 50 rounds (even reloading) very quickly and automatically in these kind of situations.

The case is what it is and nothing said here will change that, especially referring to LEO's as "pigs".

Maybe. Or maybe some will realize that the number of rounds fired isn't indicative of whether it's a legitimate shooting or not.

Rugerlvr
April 25, 2008, 02:24 PM
Lock this. It's out of hand. Too much emotion flying around. Tensions are high.

bowl443
April 25, 2008, 02:25 PM
31 shots??? Holy Cow!!

I usually side with the LEO's on these situations, but 31 shots???

jerkface11
April 25, 2008, 02:25 PM
Did they ever disclose the blood alcohol levels of the officers? (under cover cops can drink to maintain cover in NYC)

Justin
April 25, 2008, 02:27 PM
Already posted elsewhere. And this thread is going nowhere fast.

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