Friday, April 25, 2008

Civil rights leaders demand feds investigate NYPD shooting

Go to AP original
NEW YORK - Civil rights leaders demanded a federal investigation and vowed to march through the streets in protest after three police officers were cleared of all charges Friday in the killing of an unarmed man cut down in a hail of 50 bullets on his wedding day.

The verdict by Justice Arthur Cooperman elicited gasps as well as tears of joy and sorrow. Detective Michael Oliver, who fired 31 of the shots, wept at the defense table, while the mother of victim Sean Bell cried in the packed courtroom. Shouts of "Murderers! Murderers!" and "KKK!" rang out on the courthouse steps.

Bell, a 23-year-old black man, was killed outside a seedy strip club in Queens in 2006 as he was leaving his bachelor party with two friends. The officers — undercover detectives who were investigating reports of prostitution at the club — said they thought one of the men had a gun.

The slaying heightened tensions in the city and stoked long-standing allegations of racism and excessive use of force on the part of New York City's police.


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