Sean Bell Case: Feds Say No Charges, End Probe


The federal government says it won’t charge anyone and is ending its investigation into the death of Sean Bell, who was killed in November 2006 by NYPD cops the night before his wedding in a barrage of bullets outside a Queens nightclub.

The investigation is over, the Department of Justice announced this afternoon, because there was “insufficient evidence” to prove that the cops acted “willfully” in killing Bell and wounding two of his friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield. All three of them were unarmed in the one-way hail of bullets outside Club Kalua in Jamaica.

Michael Oliver, Gescard Isnora, and Marc Cooper, the three detectives charged with the shootings, were found not guilty by a judge in April 2008, and the feds immediately announced an investigation into possible criminal civil-rights charges.

The end of the investigation — with no charges — is just the latest in a string of bad news for the families of Bell and the two other shooting victims. Immediately after the shootings, the NYPD launched an investigation into the victims, not its cops. And it’s been downhill for the families since then.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 16, 2010

Archive Highlights