Three In Bell Case Canned By NYPD
Nearly six years after Far Rockaway resident Sean Bell was shot and killed by five undercover police officers outside a Jamaica strip club, three of the five officers who were involved have been forced to leave the New York City Police Department.
Bell was shot in November of 2006 by the cops, who said that they believed that Bell and his friends, who were at the club for Bell’s bachelor party the night before his wedding, had a weapon and were about to use it in a fight with other patrons.
NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced last week that he will not overturn a department trial judge’s ruling that Detective Gescard Isnora be fired for his actions that night.
Isnora was the first cop to open fire on Bell after he said he heard one of Bell’s friends say, “Get my gun,” outside. No gun was ever found. As part of the disciplinary action, Isnora will not receive his pension nor retirement and health benefits. Two other detectives who fired shots, Michael Oliver and Marc Cooper, will resign from the force, as will Lieutenant Gary Napoli, who was the NYPD supervisor at the scene of the shooting.
Bell’s parents said they’re frustrated that this outcome took so long and that some officers will keep their pension benefits, not to mention the fact that none of the officers will face jail time. Isnora, Cooper and Oliver were all acquitted of criminal charges in a 2008 bench trial in Queens Supreme Court.
“You tell me he deserves a pension? Think about it, people got to think about these things, how they do things. It’s not fair to us. We lost our son,” said Sean’s father, William Bell.
But while Sean’s fiancée and parents believe the disciplinary action isn’t enough, in a statement the Detectives Endowment Association said the decision to fire Isnora is excessive.
“Stripping a cop of his livelihood and an opportunity for a vested retirement is punishment reserved for cops who have … disgraced the shield, not for someone who has acted within the law.” In terms of a civil outcome, in 2010, Sean Bell’s estate and his two friends, Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman, who were severely injured during the shooting, were awarded a $7 million settlement.