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One cop in Sean Bell trial says 'sorry'

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One cop in Sean Bell trial says 'sorry'

BY ALISON GENDAR and TRACY CONNOR

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

April 25th 2008

 

[float=right]amd_cooper.jpg

Warga/News

Detective Marc Cooper as he left the

courthouse after being found not guilty in

the shooting death of Sean Bell.

[/float]After 17 months of silence, the three cops in the Sean Bell case spoke publicly for the first time Friday - but only one of them apologized to the victim's family.

 

His voice cracking slightly, an emotional Detective Marc Cooper began a brief, halting statement with an act of contrition.

 

"I would like to say sorry to the Bell family for the tragedy," said Cooper, who fired four bullets in the 50-shot barrage.

 

Then, like co-defendants Michael Oliver and Gescard Isnora, who spoke before him, Cooper, 40, thanked those who stood by him after the shooting.

 

"I'd like to thank the Lord, my savior, for today," he added, appearing on the verge of tears. "This started my life back."

 

Isnora, 29, and Oliver, 36, praised Queens Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman for his acquittal of the trio on all charges.

 

"First and foremost, I'd like to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for bringing this all to fruition," said Isnora, who fired 11 shots outside the Kalua Cabaret strip club.

 

"Secondly for the honorable Judge Cooperman for his fair and accurate decision today, and lastly for my family and friends for their support."

 

Oliver, who has been the focus of outrage because he fired 31 shots, thanked Cooperman "for making a fair and just decision."

 

His relatives gathered at a home in Clifton, N.J., where one gleefully told a neighbor, "He's been cleared on all counts!"

 

"Our prayers have been answered," a cousin said.

 

Oliver and his fellow detectives didn't take questions at the press conference organized by the Detectives' Endowment Association, or discuss specifics of the case.

 

That was left to DEA President Michael Palladino, who analyzed the evidence, ripped Bell's two friends who were wounded in the shooting, and piled scorn on the Rev. Al Sharpton.

 

"How do I spell relief? N-O-T G-U-I-L-T-Y," Palladino said.

 

"Our sympathies go out to the Bell family," he said. "We have been portrayed as insensitive murderers and I can tell you that we are not."

 

Palladino displayed no sympathy for Bell's pals Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman, both of whom testified against the detectives. Palladino cited Benefield's shifting account of the shooting as the "turning point" in the trial, accusing him of lying to bolster a civil suit.

 

"He transformed from a victim into a businessman," he said.

 

The detectives also were helped by Guzman's performance on the stand, Palladino said. "He was arrogant. He was belligerent. And he was combative," he added.

 

Although they've escaped state prison sentences, the cops' futures are cloudy. They face a possible federal civil rights investigation, a civil suit and an NYPD probe.

 

Oliver, Cooper and Isnora are on modified duty, stripped of their guns. Sources say it's unlikely they'll ever patrol the streets again, and the stain of the Sean Bell case may stay with them for years.

 

In Isnora's Bushwick neighborhood, some residents were angry he wasn't convicted.

 

"We should put 'Murderer' on his door," said Pablo Rios, 41.

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As of right now they should really not say anything, as mean as it sounds. They still have more trials to go through including with the NYPD and the feds. What they say could affect the out come of them. I know it sounds harsh, but that is the way the world is. You can't say a thing, good or bad till all legal procedings are done.

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As of right now they should really not say anything, as mean as it sounds. They still have more trials to go through including with the NYPD and the feds. What they say could affect the out come of them. I know it sounds harsh, but that is the way the world is. You can't say a thing, good or bad till all legal procedings are done.

 

Absolutely. I'm sorry = We screwed up = cha-ching, and if brought up on Civil rights charges = Bubba not right now, I'm still healing........

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