Posted April 7, 2008 – The NYPD detective who fired a hailstorm of bullets that killed Sean Bell on the eve of his 2006 wedding slowly approached Bell’s parked car with his hands raised and shouting, “Police … show your hands!” an officer told the judge.
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That testimony for the defense from Officer Michael Carey contradicts an account given a day earlier by Joseph Guzman, the friend of Bell’s, who was also shot times by police outside a Queens strip club following a bachelor party.
Carey, speaking slowly and deliberately, described that fateful November encounter. He said that he saw Det. Gescard Isnora identify himself and give repeated warnings before firing 50 bullets at the 23-year-old Bell, 31-year-old Guzman and 21-year-old Trent Benefield, another of Bell ’s friends. Benefield was also injured.
Carey, who is not one of the three officers charged with manslaughter and reckless endangerment, said he saw the car lurch forward, hitting Isnora and slamming twice into a police van. He said he then heard the detective yell, "He's got a gun, he's got a gun," before unloading his gun at the car. Carey said he joined in shooting at the three men, but Isnora stood in his line of fire.
When the half-minute of shooting stopped, the officer said, they say Bell’s body slumped over the front seat and Guzman and Benefield bleeding from injuries.
Isnora and Det. Michael Oliver have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter. Det. Marc Cooper has pleaded not guilty to reckless endangerment. The trio waived their right to a jury trial, saying they believed they had a better shot of justice by allowing a judge to hear their case.
Earlier in the week, Guzman, who says he was disabled by the bullets that shattered his ankle bone and passed through his body 19 times, testified that the plainclothes detectives never announced themselves and that he and his friends tried to escape men they thought were trying to kill them for no reason. He said that Isnora "appeared out of nowhere" with his pointed at them. "That's all there was – gunfire," said Guzman.
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