The judge hearing New York City’s Sean Bell shooting case, in which police fired 50 shots to kill a man about to be married, will issue his decision next Friday, says the New York Times. The case often is compared with the 1999 shooting in which four officers killed Amadou Diallo in a hail of 41 bullets in the Bronx. The officers were indicted but acquitted by an upstate jury.
A lawyer for one of the officers in the Diallo case, John Patten, said that if the officers in the Bell case are acquitted, the Diallo case may be a good indicator of what could happen next. “The department threw its arms around the officers,” Patten said. “The interesting thing about Bell or Diallo, these are use-of-force cases where the department usually gets behind these guys. It's not like a corruption thing, or some real stupid behavior.” In the Bell case, two detectives are charged with manslaughter and assault, both felonies, and all three officers are charged with reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor. A felony conviction would automatically cost the men their jobs; there are several examples of New York City police officers who lost their jobs after acquittals.