Past Event

A Just Verdict? The Sean Bell Case

In late 2006, Sean Bell—who was unarmed—was killed by 50 shots fired by New York City police officers outside a nightclub just hours before he was to be married. On April 26, all three detectives involved in the shooting—Gescard Isnora, Marc Cooper, and Michael Olliver—were acquitted of all of the charges against them including reckless endangerment, assault, and manslaughter. Protests erupted in New York opposing Judge Arthur Cooperman’s ruling in this case, and Bell’s family members are continuing to seek accountability for his death. Some lawmakers have vowed a federal probe into the shooting, while others feel the ruling should be left alone.

Did the justice system let Bell’s family down, as Bell’s fiance Nicole Paultre Bell has expressed? Or were the police officers justified in their shooting, no matter how tragic the outcome? How does this case fit into the long line of police killings of people of color? Should the family and lawmakers pursue federal charges against these officers?

Join us this week as we discuss whether justice was served in the Sean Bell case.

Suggested Readings:

Cops Acquitted in 50-Bullet Killing of Unarmed Black Man on His Wedding Day

No, the Cops Didn’t Murder Sean Bell

50 Bullets, No Conviction

Lawmaker vows thorough probe into Sean Bell shooting

Feds must resist push to prosecute cops who killed Sean Bell

Questions? Call Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.