Al Sharpton to face trial in Sean Bell case

NEW YORK The Rev. Al Sharpton and Nicole Paultre-Bell were in court July 8 but not on the civil suit that she has filed against the city and the New York Police Department.

NEW YORK     The Rev. Al Sharpton and Nicole Paultre-Bell were in court July 8 but not on the civil suit that she has filed against the city and the New York Police Department.       

The two were in court on civil disobedience charges stemming from demonstrations near the Brooklyn Bridge in May. Sharpton and Paultre- Bell, whose fiance, Sean Bell, was slain in a barrage of 50 bullets fired by five detectives in November 2006, were among 200 protesters arrested that day.

Sharpton refused to enter a guilty plea and will face trial later this month. Because of his previous record of arrests for civil disobedience, Sharpton was offered time served if he pleaded guilty.

Paultre-Bell was told that the charges against her would be dropped if she stayed “out of trouble.” The “trouble,” Sharpton snapped, was not of their doing, but “those officers who fired 50 shots at three unarmed men, killing one and wounding two,” he said, insisting that the cops are the guilty ones. Whether those officers would be found guilty of the charges filed by Paultre-Bell was to be decided in court July 16.

“That’s when we will proceed civilly, ”said a spokesperson from Sanford Rubenstein, one of the lawyers representing Paultre-Bell. Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, who were wounded by the police, are also parties to the lawsuits.

In April, Judge Arthur Cooperman, who presided without a jury, acquitted the three detectives—Gescard Isnora, Mike Oliver and Marc Cooper—who were tried in the pre-dawn shooting at the Club Kahlua on the very day Bell was to be married.

In a letter last month to U.S. Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann, city lawyer David Hazan said going ahead with “discovery”—a legal term referring to evidence-gathering before trial—might be unnecessary, the press reported. “All parties have conferred and agreed that rather than proceeding with discovery, it would be more efficient and would save the parties significant resources if, at this juncture, the parties pursue avenues other than discovery to resolve this case,” the letter said.

Special to the NNPA from the Amsterdam News

 

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