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  • 37


     
    Police Acquitted Over NY Shooting
    Race; Posted on: 2008-04-25 13:42:26 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    A judge in New York has acquitted three police officers who shot dead an unarmed man hours before his wedding.

    Sean Bell, 23, who was black, was shot as he left a strip club in the suburb of Queens in November 2006.

    Two detectives, Michael Oliver and Gescard Isnora, faced charges of manslaughter. A third, Marc Cooper, had been accused of reckless endangerment.

    The case had generated accusations of police racism and brutality, and there were angry protests outside the court. Two of the acquitted officers were black.

    Bell's fiancee, Nicole Paultre Bell, walked out of the packed courtroom as soon as Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman cleared the three officers of all charges.

    "The people have not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that each defendant was not justified" in firing, the judge said.

    The verdict was welcomed by a spokesman for the police union.

    The defendants had opted to have a judge decide the case rather than a jury, arguing that pre-trial publicity could have prejudiced jurors.

    Bell and two friends were apparently trying to drive away from the Kalua club when the incident occurred early on the morning of 25 November 2006.

    The police officers who fired were among five undercover officers who had been investigating prostitution allegations at the club.

    ...But there was outrage at the verdict among Bell's family and supporters.

    Inside the courtroom, Bell's mother sobbed and gasps were heard as the verdict was given.

    Outside there was outrage among the dozens of protesters, many of whom had queued since the early hours to try to get into the court.

    Shouts of "No!" erupted as word of the verdict spread. Some people wept on each other's shoulders, while others shouted "No justice in America!"

    The veteran black civil rights campaigner Rev Al Sharpton, who has led many of the protests around the case and was in court on Friday, has argued it is not about race but about police accountability.

    Continue...

    FROM A.L.: Would Al Sharpton be there if the man who was shot was white? Of course not. The presence of Al Sharpton automatically implies a biased racial aspect.
    News Source: bbc

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