Posted March 20, 2008 – A key figure in the case of the 23-year-old African-American groom who was shot to death by New York City Police on the eve of his wedding day said Wednesday that detectives are lying about what sparked the shooting.
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Police have always contended that Sean Bell, who was killed in a haze of 50 police bullets, and Wednesday’s witness, Fabio Coicou, were arguing when somebody in Bell’s group yelled, “Somebody go get my gun!” Coicou, 30, a prosecution witness, said he never heard anyone say this.
Under cross-examination, however, defense attorneys for the three detectives on trial for shooting Bell reminded him that he had said something different to prosecutors in January 2007.
“Do you remember telling prosecutors that you heard someone say, “We’ll get the gat?” defense attorney Anthony Ricco asked. Gat is a slang for gun. Replied Coicou: “I don’t recall that. I don’t remember anyone saying that, and I don’t recall that statement.” In fact, he said he doesn’t even know what a “gat” is.
The statements before the prosecutors from the Queens district attorney’s office were not made under oath.
This is the second week of trial for detectives Gescard F. Isnora, Michael Oliver and Marc Cooper, who are charged with negligent homicide for the 2006 shooting outside of the Club Kalua strip club, where Bell and friends were attending a bachelor’s party. Police say they believed Bell, or one of the two friends they wounded, had a weapon. It was later revealed that the men were unarmed. Two of Bell’s friends told the judge that they thought Coicou had a gun.
Testified Coicou: “I kept my hands in my pockets to demonstrate peace,” Mr. Coicou said.
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