QUEENS, N.Y. – Three detectives charged in the shooting death of Sean Bell were found not guilty of all charges this morning. Bell was shot to death on Nov. 25, 2006 – his wedding day – after leaving his pre-wedding bachelor party in Jamaica, Queens.
The detectives fired more than 50 shots, killing Bell, who was unarmed, and wounding friends with him in his car, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield.
Dets. Gescard Isnora and Marc Cooper were charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter. Det. Oliver, who fired 31 shots, was charged with reckless endangerment.
The verdict came after a 7-week trial, without a jury, before Justice Arthur Cooperman. In announcing the verdict, Justice Cooperman said that many of the prosecution’s witnesses, including Bell’s wounded friends, were not credible. “The testimony of those witnesses just didn’t make sense,” Cooperman said.
Isnora and Cooper are both black, as was Bell. Oliver is white.