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Justice Dept. Says NYPD Cops Off the Hook in Racially Charged Fatal Shooting

sean bell-websiteBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The New York City officers involved in the highly controversial fatal shooting of Sean Bell — he was shot 50 times on his wedding day in 2006 — are off the hook.

The Justice Department announced Tuesday there was insufficient evidence to file civil rights charges against the officers in the shooting of Bell and his two friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, who were wounded.

Three officers were acquitted of criminal charges in state court in 2008 in the shooting outside a Queens strip club. Bell, who was unarmed, was out with friends celebrating before his wedding. The shootings brought cries of outrage from the black community.

“Officials from the department’s Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the FBI met today with Bell’s family, his fiancée and their representatives to inform them of this decision, as well as with Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, friends of Bell who were wounded during the tragic incident,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

“A team of experienced civil rights prosecutors and agents reviewed all of the materials and evidence generated and provided by the Queens County District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD, including witness statements, crime scene evidence, ballistics reports, reconstruction analyses, medical reports, state grand jury proceedings and the state trial record,” the Justice Department said.

“Federal officials also took additional investigative steps, including interviewing numerous individuals, such as Bell’s friends who witnessed the shooting, and retaining an independent ballistics reconstruction expert to conduct an analysis of significant ballistics evidence and to review the ballistics and reconstruction analyses performed by the NYPD.”

To read the New York Times version click here.

To read the Justice Dept. press release click here.


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Comment from FlyCop
Time February 18, 2010 at 12:31 am

Good News.

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