The three New York City police officers, who fatally shot 23-year-old Sean Bell on his wedding day with 50 bullets, were cleared of all charges today in Queens Supreme Court.
According to the New York Daily News, detectives Michael Olivier and Gescard Isnora were acquitted of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter charges, felony assault and reckless endangerment and Marc Cooper was cleared reckless endangerment charge today by Judge Arthur Cooperman.
The decision sparked tears in the courtroom and rage on the streets.
"The defendants are not guilty of all charges," declared Justice Cooperman. "The burden was on the people to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Each defendant was assumed to be innocent."
Sean Bell's widow, Nicole Paultre in tears stood up and ran out of the courtroom as Cooperman read his verdict.
New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, assembled hundreds of extra cops in Jamaica, Queens, just in case there was trouble after the verdict." Some people were disappointed with the verdict and we understand that," Kelly said. "We don't anticipate violence but we are prepared for any contingencies."
As SOHH previously reported, Oliver, who fired 31 times and decorated undercover Detective Isnora, who fired 11 bullets, faced up to 25 years in prison for their charges and Cooper, who fired four shots, faced up to a year.
All three officers remain on modified duty and have surrendered their guns.
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