Four of the five officers who together fired 50 gunshots at the car of an unarmed man on his wedding day hadn’t completed mandatory firearms training, a group of black officers have charged, reports the Associated Press. New York Police Department leaders “failed to ensure these officers were properly trained,” said Marquez Claxton, a founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care. At a news conference outside police headquarters, Claxton alleged that four plainclothes officers involved in the Nov. 25 killing of Sean Bell and the wounding of two companions attended only one of two annual ”training cycles” at the police shooting range. The fifth shooter, an unidentified undercover detective, had done both practice sessions. ”When you fail to attend these training cycles, tragedies occur,” Claxton said.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the officers’ record was unremarkable. ”Ideally, everyone goes to two cycles, but it’s not unusual for officers not to complete both cycles in one year,” he said. The fraternal organization asserted that a preliminary police department report about the shooting contains proof the officers were undertrained. Police have said undercover officers believed the victims were going to retrieve a gun, but no weapons were found. The undercover officer, who initiated the gunfire, has said through his lawyer that he saw a fourth, possibly armed man flee the car.