(This file photo combo released by the New York City Police Department shows, from left, Michael Oliver, Gescard Isnora and Marc Cooper.)
After five and a half years, the case of Sean Bell, an unarmed man killed by a barrage of 50 shots fired by New York City police officers the day before his wedding, has come to an official close.
On Friday, after a department administrative trial found the officers acted improperly during the 2006 shooting incident, New York Police Department Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly fired Det. Gescard Isnora; fellow detectives Marc Cooper, Michael Oliver and Lt. Gary Napoli announced they will resign. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said, “There was nothing in the record to warrant overturning the decision” of punishing the officers.
According to previous reports, after Bell reportedly argued with another person outside a Queens club where he was celebrating his bachelor party, he and his friends got into a car; Isnora allegedly approached the car with his gun drawn. Witnesses say they did not hear Isnora or the other officers identify themselves, and Bell, who was driving the vehicle, backed into Isnora’s legs, knocking him down.
In response, the officers began firing, killing Bell and severely injuring his friends, Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman.
In a 2008 trial, the detectives and lieutenant were widely condemned and brought up on criminal charges after the shooting. The trial also suggested the officers acted recklessly, and community activists said the shooting was an example of excessive force by police.
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