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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bell grand jury empaneled

Valerie Bell stands at a vigil yesterday
for her slain son, Sean Bell, outside the
103rd Precinct in Jamaica, Queens

Bell grand jury tolls

But slain groom's kin press
for a special prosecutor


A grand jury was empaneled in Queens Supreme Court yesterday to investigate the fatal police shooting of an unarmed groom on his wedding day, sources said.

The 23-member panel will consider a possible indictment of the five cops who fired 50 shots at Sean Bell and two pals as they left a Jamaica strip club on Nov. 25.

But it could be months before there's any movement in the case.

The grand jury, convened for a six-month term, was seated for scheduling purposes but will not begin reviewing evidence for weeks, sources told the Daily News.

And jurors will review evidence for at least a month when they get going, sources said.

"The journey for justice has begun," said lawyer Sanford Rubenstein, who represents Bell's fiancée, Nicole Paultre-Bell, and the two wounded friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield.

"Still, we've said from the beginning that what we want is the thorough and complete investigation," Rubenstein said.

Even as the panel of Queens residents was being secretly convened in a Kew Gardens courtroom, Bell's family was demanding a quick indictment and calling for a special prosecutor at a vigil in front of Jamaica's 103rd Precinct.

"The fact that the grand jury has been empaneled doesn't change our demand for a special prosecutor," said lawyer Neville Mitchell, who represents Bell's parents and stood with them during what they said will be a 50-day vigil. "We have no faith in [Queens] District Attorney [Richard] Brown."

I think this lands in Spitzer's lap sooner rather than later. Because the pressure for a special prosecutor won't relent. And if they refuse to indict, all hell breaks loose. You cannot shoot at a car 50 times, kill one man, wound two others, and walk away clean.

In New Orleans, police who did that are facing first degree murder charges.

posted by Steve @ 6:56:00 AM

6:56:00 AM

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