Cops Acquitted in NYC Groom Shooting

Judge clears detectives who killed Sean Bell in 50-bullet barrage
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2008 8:47 AM CDT
Nicole Paultre-Bell, fiancee of shooting victim Sean Bell, speaks to reporters during a news conference on the steps of City Hall, Wednesday, April 23, 2008 in New York.    (AP Photo/Jin Lee)
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(Newser) – A judge today acquitted three detectives who killed an unarmed New York City man in a hail of 50 bullets hours before his wedding in November 2006, the New York Times reports. The judge cited problems with witnesses' testimony in the killing of Sean Bell and a lack of sufficient evidence. Roughly 150 Bell supporters had gathered inside and outside the courtroom, including fiancée Nicole Paultre-Bell, who ran from the courtroom when the verdict was read, and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

The prosecution chose to have a judge, rather than a jury, decide the case. Bell was shot as he drove away from his bachelor party at a Queens nightclub. An undercover cop, thinking Bell or one of his passengers was armed, approached the car with a gun drawn, telling Bell not to move. When Bell, who friends said thought he was being robbed, moved his car, they opened fire, with one defendant firing 31 shots.