Suspects as Usual

After the Sean Bell shooting, the NYPD opened a surprising investigation—into the victims

Ten days after that official spoke with the Voice, Trent Benefield was arrested and charged with loitering when he was found outside an apartment where people were shooting craps.

The question is especially relevant because a grand jury has been convened in the case.

But some of the damage from the parallel investigation won't be undone. A week after B.J. Williams was questioned, police took his brother Gerald into custody.

Sean Bell's friend Jean Nelson was identified by police as the alleged "fourth man."
photo: Willie Davis/Veras
Sean Bell's friend Jean Nelson was identified by police as the alleged "fourth man."


See also:
  • The 50-Day Vigil for Sean Bell
    Open thread in Power Plays
  • Waiting All Night for Justice
    Photo gallery
  • Gerald Williams was standing with a friend in front of the Bricks on December 6 when two officers approached them. The friend ran, was caught, and was charged with possession of a bag of crack found in a stairwell. Gerald Williams didn't move and didn't have any drugs on him but was taken in anyway.

    They briefly asked him about the drugs and then, he recalled, began bombarding him with questions about the shooting victims. "I said, I don't know who no fourth man is. There is no fourth guy."

    Eventually the police let Gerald Williams go with no charges.

    "I never had handcuffs on me a day in my life. I guess that's kind of hard to believe for them because I'm a male black at my age," the 24-year-old said.

    What's more, until this incident, Williams had planned to become one of them. He took the police exam and was applying to John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He wanted to be a cop.

    "For right now, I'm soured on the whole thing," he said.

    Additional reporting: Daryl Khan

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