Officers Acquitted in Sean Bell's Death
BY JOHN VALENTI
Three detectives were acquitted Friday morning in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Sean Bell in November 2006, provoking an outpouring of emotions inside and outside the Queens courtroom.
State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman ruled that the detectives -- Michael Oliver, Gescard Isnora and Marc Cooper -- bore no criminal responsibility for Bell's death or the wounding of his two friends, Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman.
Following the verdict, the U.S. Justice Department announced it would "conduct an independent review of the facts and circumstances" surrounding the case. The department said it "will take appropriate action if the evidence indicates a prosecutable violation of federal criminal civil rights statutes."
In Harlem Friday afternoon, the Rev. Al Sharpton called the verdict "an abortion of justice" and promised nonviolent demonstrations in response
Earlier, Mayor Michael Bloomberg emphasized that the judge's responsibility was to decide the case based on the evidence presented in the courtroom.
"There are no winners in a trial like this," Bloomberg said in a statement. "An innocent man lost his life, a bride lost her groom, two daughters lost their father, and a mother and a father lost their son. No verdict could ever end the grief of those who knew and loved Sean Bell."
Al Sharpton's Call for a Non-Violent Protest of the Verdict