Sean Bell Shooting Trial: What Will Happen to the Detectives If They're Acquitted?

A couple of friends I made during the trial (two young women getting their PhDs from John Jay College of Criminal Justice) and I were just discussing this the other day: if the detectives happen to be acquitted of all or the top homicide counts, what will happen to them? Would they be able to keep their badges and go straight back to regular duty?

So I was happy to see that Michael Wilson, my favorite official news reporter who covered this case, answered just that question in his NYTimes article yesterday. Apparently, they could still be brought up on departmental disciplinary charges within the NYPD, and if found guilty, would be fired, or they could even be prosecuted federally. According to Wilson’s article, chances of both are slim, since such proceedings are usually brought against officers accused of brutality toward inmates already in custody. But if the fate of the officers who shot and killed Amadou Diallo is any indication (Diallo was an unarmed male immigrant from Guinea whom officers, who were acquitted, shot 41 times, mistakenly thinking he was reaching for a gun), Isnora, Oliver and Cooper would likely be assigned desk duty and have their weapons taken away. One officer from the Diallo case is still trying to be re-assigned to street duty and regain his weapon privileges; the other three officers have left the force.

Anyway, it’s an interesting article. Read it here.

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