Friday, April 25, 2008

The world chokes on U.S. & Zionist racism --


"New York police cleared of killing"

April 25, 2008

Bell's supporters were distraught
following the verdict [Reuters]
Three police detectives in the US city of New York have been found innocent of killing of a black man shot dead on his wedding day.

A New York State Supreme Court judge cleared the two of manslaughter and other charges and a third of reckless endangerment in the death of Sean Bell who was shot dead after a party in November 2006.

The case has caused outrage in New York's black community.

After the verdict, loud sobs were heard in the courtroom and outside, about 200 demonstrators shouted in frustration.

"They're murderers, criminals, and they are going to rot in hell where they belong," one man shouted.

About 1,000 police officers were deployed around the court in the Queens area after the verdicts were handed down.

Reasonable doubt

Mike Oliver, Marc Cooper and Gescard Isnora fired more than 50 bullets during the incident.

Bell was killed inside his car outside a
nightclub [EPA]
The three waived their right to a jury trial and decided to have the judge decide guilt or innocence.

Defence lawyers had said jurors in the borough of Queens were likely to be biased against the policemen due to the intense media coverage the case has generated.

Judge Arthur Cooperman said the charges could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

"Questions of carelessness and incompetence must be left to other forums," Cooperman said.

Al Jazeera's Kristen Saloomey in New York said there was likely to be an appeal against the verdict and a federal investigation.

Saloomey said the officers still could be forced to pay compensation and may face disciplinary action.

'Armed and dangerous'

The eight-week trial centred on whether the detectives had reason to believe they faced imminent danger when the shots were fired and whether they made it clear to Bell and the two survivors that they were police officers.

On the night of the shooting, Isnora, the undercover officer who fired first, followed Bell and his two friends to Bell's car believing they had gone to fetch a gun to settle a dispute at the club.
The defence argued that the victims as drunken thugs who the officers believed were armed and dangerous.

Prosecutors had attempted to convince the judge that the victims had been minding their own business, and that the officers were inept and trigger-happy.

The case has revived painful memories of other police-related shootings in the city, such as the 1999 shooting of Amadou Diallo - an African immigrant who was hit by 41 bullets by police officers who said they mistook his wallet for a gun.