New York City has agreed to pay more than $7 million to settle a federal lawsuit filed by the family and two friends of Sean Bell, a 23-year-old black man who was fatally shot by the police in 2006 on what would have been his wedding day, reports the New York Times. The children whom Bell had with his fiancée, Nicole Paultre Bell, will receive $3.25 million, and two friends who were injured in the episode will get payments, Joseph Guzman getting $3 million, and Trent Benefield $900,000.
The case, whose settlement is among the largest involving the city's police, set off a debate over the use of deadly force and prompted the city to change some of its policing procedures. Those include alcohol testing for officers in any shooting in which someone is injured, as well as improved firearms training. On Nov. 25, 2006, five police officers fired 50 shots into the auto Bell was driving outside a strip club. The car struck a detective in the leg and hit a police van just before the officers began firing. None of the three men in the car had guns, although the officers apparently believed at least one did. Three of the officers were acquitted of manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges in 2008.