The three New York City police detectives charged with manslaughter in the 2006 shooting death of Sean Bell, 23, on his wedding day as he was leaving his bachelor party with two friends were acquitted of all charges this morning. The officers fired fifty shots at Bell and his friends, who were all unarmed, outside of a Queens strip club.
"Justice Arthur Cooperman delivered the verdict in a Queens courtroom packed with spectators, including victim Sean Bell's fiancee and parents, as at least 200 people gathered outside the building.
"As word of the verdict spread, many outside the courthouse began crying and yelled 'No!' Some briefly jostled with police officers.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.
"Officers Michael Oliver, 36, and Gescard Isnora, 29, stood trial for manslaughter while Officer Marc Cooper, 40, was charged only with reckless endangerment. Two other shooters weren't charged. Oliver squeezed off 31 shots; Isnora fired 11 rounds; and Cooper shot four times." [AP via MSNBC]