NEW YORK (CBS 2/AP) — It’s the fifth anniversary of the Sean Bell police shooting.
Bell died on Nov. 25, 2006, in a hail of 50 bullets. He was leaving his bachelor party at a Queens strip club, just hours before he would have been married.
Three detectives were acquitted. Bell was black. The officers were black, white and Hispanic. Race was initially raised as a factor, but the case eventually focused on the use of deadly force.
Bell’s fiance, Nicole Paultre Bell, said he died because of one cop’s imagination.
“In his mind, he had a whole scenario of what was about to unfold,” she said. “It was Sean and all of the guys here celebrating a new day, a new life.”
A New York Times article recalls how the incident prompted comparisons to other high-profile police shootings. It was especially likened to the 1999 Bronx shooting of African immigrant Amadou Diallo, killed amid 41 shots.
In both cases, the officers said they believed the unarmed man had a gun.
The city agreed to pay more than $7 million to settle a federal lawsuit filed by Bell’s family and two friends.
Last month, the NYPD began a departmental trial in the shooting.
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)