Nearly five years after Sean Bell was gunned down on his wedding day, two police officers who shot the unarmed man faced a police department’s administrative trial that determines the fate of their jobs.
Detective Gescard Isnora and police officer Michael Carey are accused of failing to follow the NYPD guidelines in firing their weapons. Isnora was additionally charged with violating the protocol which determines when an undercover officer should take action.
Bell was killed on November 25, 2006, after he left a Queens strip club where he was having his bachelor’s party. He got into his car with two friends, and five police officers believing Bell or his friends were armed, fired 50 bullets at the group.
“In its opening the police department called the policemen’s behavior 'outrageous, unimaginable and unjustified,'” said Sanford Rubenstein, lawyer for the Bell family.
Isnora was charged with manslaughter but found not guilty in 2008. Carey only faces departmental charges. Administrative proceedings against other officers involved in the case are pending.
Following the trial, the administrative judge, Martin Karopkin, will make a recommendation, but the decision on whether to fire the police officers will be ultimately made by Commissioner Ray Kelly.
The trial is under way and expected to last a few days.
The NYPD said it took five years for the disciplinary trial to happen because they had to wait for the criminal case and investigation by the US Justice Department to be completed.