Posted Nov. 26, 2007 - A year after New York City Police officers gunned down Sean Bell, a 25-year-old Black man, as he and his friends were leaving his bachelor party on the eve of his wedding, his family is still in grief.
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Friends and family of Bell gathered at the catering hall, La Bella Vita in New York Sunday where he and Nicole Paultre Bell (who took on his name after his passing) were to be married.
Attendees wore buttons celebrating his memory, while watching a video tribute, reports Newsday.
“It hurts a lot,” Paultre Bell told the newspaper. “I’m going to keep his memory alive as long as I live.”
Last November, five officers fired a blizzard of 50 bullets at Bell and his two friends – Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield –in front of a Queens, N.Y., strip club.
Bell died from his injuries, while Guzman and Benefield were seriously wounded.
Lawyers for the officers say they believed the group of friends were going to get a gun from the car, although no weapons were found.
Two of the officers (Michael Oliver and Gescard Isnora) have since pleaded not guilty to manslaughter; another officer (Marc Cooper) has pleaded not guilty to reckless endangerment.
The anniversary of Bell’s death comes after a year of public outrage from Black activists who claim that his death is just another example of police behaving recklessly.
“We’re supposed to be celebrating his [wedding] anniversary right now,” Guzman, told Newsday. “Now, instead, we have to come together this way. It’s hard. It’s hard.”
Friday there was a 6 ½-hour overnight vigil at the scene of the shooting, followed by a sermon delivered by the Rev. Al Sharpton at a nearby church.