An administrative judge will then rule on possible disciplinary actions against the two officers who shot the 23-year-old New Yorker on his wedding day.
A week earlier, Detective Gescard Isnora gave his first public account of the incident, and last Thursday, the second officer gave his account as well.
"All I saw was his arm coming up. I wasn't going to wait for him to have the gun, because then it's too late," Isnora testified, explaining that he fired 11 shots in Bell’s direction because he thought the man sitting in the front seat of Bell’s car was going for a gun. "Me firing my weapon, that was the last thing I wanted to do."
Bell was killed and two of his friends were seriously injured in the incident. The shooting occurred outside of a strip club where police were investigating reports of prostitution, but Bell and his close friends were simply trying to enjoy a fun night before the young man’s wedding later that morning.
“I didn’t think anything was an accident,” Officer Michael Carey testified last Thursday of the 2006 incident. He said he thought the vehicle carrying Bell was trying to run the cops over. "My conclusion after the first collision was that I believed they had intent to injure us."
No weapon was found in Bell’s car, consequently sparking accusations that the NYPD officers were too quick to use deadly force.
The departmental trial for Isnora and Carey follows a 2008 non-jury trial in which two officers and Isnora were acquitted of criminal charges. Carey was never charged criminally. The two other officers acquitted in the criminal trial are trying to negotiate plea deals in their disciplinary cases.
After hearing all evidence at the disciplinary trial, the administrative judge will make a recommendation to the police commissioner on how to discipline Isnora and Carey, who are not on active duty, but currently collect a paycheck.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has the final say.
Last year, to settle a civil suit, the city agreed to pay $3.25 million to the estate of Bell, $3 million to Guzman and $900,000 to a third passenger.
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(Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton /Landov)