2008-05-02 / Top Stories

Bell Family Receiving Threats Via Phone And E-mail

Paultre: Verdict Is Mind-boggling
By Miriam Rosenberg

Nicole Paultre-Bell's father is claiming the family received a phone call originating from a police detective's union office harassing them just hours after a judge handed down a not guilty verdict for the three detectives accused of criminal charges in the death of his daughter's fiancé, Sean Bell.

According to Les Paultre, a call came after the family arrived home last Friday after visiting Bell's gravesite.

"We just got the verdict and got home from the cemetery and the phone was ringing," said Paultre. "There was talking laughter - like ha, ha, ha - on the phone and [the caller] hung up. When I looked at the caller ID, it said 'Sgt. Benev.' I called back and the receptionist who answered said, 'Sergeants Benevolent Association' [SBA]."

Paultre said he spoke with a representative of the organization, letting him know they did not want to be receiving harassing calls.

The Wave attempted to contact Edward Mullins, the president of the SBA, but he did not return requests for a statement.

According to a published report in the Daily News, Mullins commented on the incident by saying that when the calls were reported to have been made, "There were not many people in the building."

"Those who were there are all mature professionals who wouldn't do something like that," said Mullins.

In addition to harassing calls, Paultre also said his daughter has received hate e-mails from unknown sources. Because of this, he said the Bell family has asked for, and is receiving protection.

The verdict, handed down on April 25, cleared all three police officers in a shooting that killed Bell and wounded two of his friends in a barrage of 50 bullets as they were leaving his bachelor party at a strip club in Jamaica on the day he was to be married.

"I don't think the judge had any intention of prosecuting the officers," continued Paultre, who said he was personally devastated. "When he was reading his decision, it was like he was reading a script from the defense."I don't think he gave much thought to the verdict, the father of Bell's fiancée went on to say, "From what I heard [as the judge read the verdict], he had his mind made up and we went through the dance for no reason."

While some have accused the prosecution of blowing the case, Paultre wouldn't go that far.

"I think they could have done a lot more," he said.

Paultre called the verdict mind-boggling.

"Basically, each of the three officers testified they did not recall seeing badges when they were asked," said Paultre.

He added, "How can you yell 'gun' and then say you didn't see one. It's like yelling 'fire' in a building for no reason."

Despite the harassing calls and emails, Paultre said they have heard from people from across the country who also could not understand the verdict.

On Monday, the family met with Congressman John Conyers of Michigan (the chair for the Committee on the Judiciary) and New York's Congressman Charles Rangel in an effort to ask the Justice Department to look at the case and determine if the civil rights of Bell and his friends were violated.

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