Posted May 6, 2008 – The woman Sean Bell was to wed before he was killed in a haze of New York City Police bullets said she was shocked when the judge acquitted the three detectives of any wrongdoing in the case.
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“When I heard the judge’s decision, I was devastated. I couldn’t believe that after everything we’ve been through and what happened to Sean, that there was no result. Basically the decision says that it was OK,” Nicole Paultre Bell told Essence magazine in a wide-ranging interview. “I wasn’t expecting them to be found guilty of the highest charge. I knew it was not going to be exactly what I wanted. But I did not expect it to be nothing.”
Paultre Bell, who legally acquired her fiancé’s name after his death, said that the family of her slain husband to be is now trying to gather their thoughts and plan the strategy for the next phase in the quest for justice.
“Once we left court, we met up at the cemetery, where we paid our respects to Sean,” she said. “We prayed. We cried. My older daughter, Jada, she’s 5. She has a lot of questions. When I got home I didn’t have to tell her that something was wrong. I told her that they said no to justice, but I also told her that it wasn’t over.”
She said that she was surprised that the only apology she got from the detectives was from Marc Cooper, the one who was facing the lightest charge.
“So I accepted his apology. I’m sad to say that’s the only apology we got from anyone on their side,” she said.
The outpouring of support she has gotten from the public has been energizing, she said.
“It’s surreal. I never would have thought that my family and I would be at the center of something like this,” she said. “It’s amazing to me when people come up to me and tell me how I have their support. It all gives me strength to keep going. Some celebrities have reached out too. Hillary Clinton called again. She let us know that she sent her condolences to me and Sean’s parents, and she said that she will fully support the Justice Department investigation. I also got a phone call from P. Diddy. He also extended his condolences and told me he was proud of how strong I stood and hung in there.”