NYPD Forces Out Cops in Sean Bell Shooting

Bell, who was unarmed, was shot dead by police early in the morning on his wedding day.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Five years after losing the man she was about to marry, Nicole Paultre Bell reacts to a judge's recommendation to punish the cop who shot at her fiance. (Published Thursday, Dec 1, 2011)

    Three officers involved in the controversial Sean Bell shooting case will be forced out of the NYPD by Monday, including one who will be fired, NBC New York has learned.

    NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has upheld a departmental trial judge's ruling to fire Detective Gescard Isnora, sources said. Two others — Detective Michael Oliver and Detective Marc Cooper — are expected to report to the NYPD's pension board Monday to formally hand in their papers, sources said.

    Family and Friends Remember Sean Bell

    [NY] Family and Friends Remember Sean Bell
    Family holds vigil for 5th anniversary of Bell's death. (Published Friday, Nov 25, 2011)

    Lt. Gary Napoli has also been forced to leave the NYPD. Napoli was a supervisor on scene but did not fire his weapon that night. 

    NYPD spokesman Paul Browne confirmed the decision by Kelly to fire Isnora, saying, "There was nothing in the record to warrant overturning the decision of the department's trial judge."

    One source said Isnora is not expected to be allowed to get a pension as a result of Kelly's ruling.

    "It's a slap on the wrist", said Bell's father, William Bell. "They're going to get another job, their life is going to go on and mine's just stuck."

    Michael Palladino, the president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, said the decision to terminate Isnora could be summed up in three words: "disgraceful, excessive and unprecedented."

    He added that "stripping a cop of his livelihood and his opportunity for a vested retirement is punishment reserved for a cop who has turned to a life of crime and disgraced the shield. It's not for someone who has acted within the law and was justified in a court of law and exonerated by the United States Department of Justice."

    Isnora was the detective who fired first in a 50-shot fusillade that killed 23-year-old Sean Bell — who was unarmed — early in the morning on his wedding day. The November 2006 shooting, which occurred outside a Queens strip club, also injured Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield.

    Oliver, Isnora and Cooper were indicted but all were found not guilty at a 2008 trial.

    Sources familiar with the case said that following an administrative trial, the NYPD placed Oliver on modified duty, stripping him of his gun and shield. He lost 60 days pay, forfeited all time and leave balances and was forced to retire.

    Cooper and Napoli, a supervisor who was at the scene but did not fire any shots, were also placed on modified duty. They lost 30 days vacation, and were also forced to forfeit all time and leave balances and retire. A fifth officer, Michael Carey, was cleared of all charges.

    Isnora had fought to keep his job but Deputy Commissioner Martin Karopkin ruled after the departmental trial that he be fired.