Thursday, July 29, 2010


Posted by: Roxxanne Roxxanne

The city of New York has agreed to pay more than $7 million to Sean Bell's estate and two other parties involved in the civil lawsuit.

In 2006, Bell was exiting a strip club in Queens with two friends after his bachelor party, when the group got into an altercation with 3 plain clothes New York police officers --who the surviving victims say did not identify themselves as officers.

The officers end up firing 50 shots at Bell and his friends, who were unarmed. One of the officers fired his gun 31 times that fateful night, pausing to reload his weapon.

Bell died at the scene just hours before his wedding and his 2 friends were seriously wounded.

Bell's estate was awarded $3.25 million in the settlement and the money will be split between his two children and placed in a trust until they reach the age of 18.

Bell's fiance Nicole Paultre-Bell (she legally had her last name changed to Bell) will receive nothing from the settlement since New York laws does not recognize unmarried partners in these sorts of settlements.

One of the victims, Joseph Guzman, was struck by 17 bullets and will receive $3 million in the settlement. Trent Benefield, the other victim was not as seriously injured and will receive $900,000.

Michael Cardozo an attorney for the New York City Law Department remarked regarding the settlement, "[t]he city regrets the loss of life in this tragic case, and we share our deepest condolences with the Bell family. We hope that all parties can find some measure of closure by this settlement."

The 3 officers involved in the Bell murder were acquitted of all charges in April 2008 and they are still working for the New York Police Department under a modified work schedule. However, the officers are under investigation by the Department, which may result in their dismissal. I doubt it!

Although the money will likely benefit Bell's children tremendously, it can not replace the fact that those children will grow up without their father.

I also feel for Nicole. I can't imagine what it's like to hear on what is suppose to be the happiest day of your life, your wedding, that your fiance has  been police no less.

I sincerely hope all the victims and their families of this senseless tragedy can finally begin to heal. And as far as I'm concerned, those 3 NYofficers should be dismissed from the department, no question!

What does that say about our justice system that 3 officers, whose duty is to protect and serve the community, can murder an innocent unarmed man and seriously injure two others and the officers' only punishment is a slap on the wrist?

Source: 1 and 2

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