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New York City settles for $7.15M in Sean Bell police shooting...

The city agreed Tuesday to pay more than $7 million to settle a wrongful death civil suit lodged by the fiancée and pals of Sean Bell, the unarmed black groom gunned down by cops on his wedding day, sources said.

The settlement, approved by a Brooklyn federal magistrate, ends a four-year legal battle by tragic would-be bride Nicole Paultre Bell and two men wounded in a 50-shot barrage that claimed her lover's life.

Under the agreement, the city will pay $3.25 million to Sean Bell's family estate, which is controlled by Paultre Bell. Bell's pals Joseph Guzman, 35, who was shot 11 times in the incident, will receive $3 million and Trent Benefield, 27, who was shot three times, will be granted $900,000.

"I believe the settlement is fair," said Paultre Bell, the mother of Bell's two daughters, Jada, 7, and Jordyn, 4. "No amount of money can provide closure for losing Sean. I don't think there will ever be closure."

"What's important is my fight doesn't end now," she said, vowing to continue to push state legislatures to pass a package of laws to reform the Civilian Complaint Review Board, require drug testing when cops fire their guns and ban arrest quotas.

Guzman said he is still suffering from the shooting that fueled minority concerns that cops are too quick on the draw in their neighborhoods.

"I got a metal rod in my leg. I have four bullets still in me," he said, standing in front of Brooklyn Federal Court with Paultre Bell and their lawyer Sanford Rubenstein. "I don't think a black or Hispanic man's life means much in this city. It will happen again."

Guzman and Benefield, who is black, were in a car with Bell when undercover cops opened fire on them outside the Club Kalua strip club in Queens on Nov. 25, 2006, hours before Bell was to get married.

Detectives Michael Oliver, Marc Cooper and Gescard Isnora were all acquitted in a 2008 trial of manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges stemming from the Bell shooting. The cops fired on Bell's lurching car after mistakenly believing someone inside had a gun and fearing that Bell was trying to run them down.

The U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn declined to prosecute the cops for civil rights violations.

The NYPD still has yet to decide whether to discipline a total of five officers involved in the shooting.

City Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo said he hoped the agreement will bring a "measure of closure" to all parties involved.

"The Sean Bell shooting highlighted the complexities our dedicated officers must face each day," he said. "The city regrets the loss of life in this tragic case, and we share our deepest condolences with the Bell family."

Federal Magistrate Roanne Mann signed off on the settlement during a marathon closed-door meeting with lawyers for the city, Paultre Bell and the two shooting survivors.

Detectives union President Michael Palladino called the settlement "an absolute joke."

"The police were there doing their lawful duty. Bell was intoxicated and tried to run them over," Palladino said. "The taxpayers are now on the hook for $7 million. There's something seriously wrong with that picture."

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Comment by GGGIAN1 on August 2, 2010 at 12:19am


Comment by DIAMOND on July 30, 2010 at 10:57pm
Comment by Donna Bhagone on July 30, 2010 at 5:15pm
Seems to me the real joke is the way these matters are handled, why are the police investigating the police (internal affairs) and because of this how could we ever expect them to find themselves guilty of any civil rights violation? It is a miscarriage of justice to have us the taxpayers pay for their wrongs. Think about it what employer allows an employee to remain on duty (however reduced), collect a pay check, keep their pension and benefits after causing their company to have a bad reputation and lose so much money? Fact is the police department is a world unto its own. They don't really lose money because we bail them out! Everytime they have to settle, we pay not them! I believe that they should be brought up on charges by the UN for crimes against humanity. The system doesn't work never will and needs to be thrown out. If we can help to establish new democratic countries elsewhere why can't we do it here, afterall isn't that how this country was founded? If you America, can hold others responsible for their reign of terror on their civilians. Why aren't we America, correcting whats wrong over here? Its the same abuse of power and as far as I can see the police have absolute power and are a country unto its self. Or are we a nation who pretends to help others when they have something we want like oil.
Comment by Nicole HotStepper Mazyck on July 30, 2010 at 12:18pm
No price is right!
Comment by chevon on July 29, 2010 at 8:53pm
Michael Palladino is right when he said the settlement is a joke. they should have received 1 million for each of the 50 bullet that was fire. BLACK/LATINO MEN BE WARNED, YOU ARE ALL TARGETS.
Comment by Easy.B on July 29, 2010 at 8:05pm
are these the same people that say they're job is to "serve,protect and reassure" looks like we need protecting from them
Comment by Oliver F. Sampson on July 29, 2010 at 4:29pm
The settlement is bullshit and the police union guy has the nerve to ay its a joke? Those cope needed to be charged with 1st degree murder and at least do life in prison but i guess its ok to MURDER innocent black people and claim they tried to run you down after you pump more than 50 bullets into a car of unarmed men. As long as they shoot black men its of but all hell breaks loose if they shoot 1 white man wrongly. They write new lawsthe media does investigation that they never do for a black victim, and the worst thing is you don't even have to doo anything to be shot multiple times by cops in NY nd all they have to say is "he was black and we were scared for our lives" never mind you had no weapon and were just going about your normal everyday business. All they do is give your family a few pennies after your dead to send them packing while they still talk s***
Comment by CARAMEL SWEETNESS on July 29, 2010 at 12:39pm
Comment by DJ Simmy Reggae Vybz Radio Mgmt on July 29, 2010 at 8:22am
i guess i'll be first to comment on this since i saw the story on the news report and i must say that the city should of paid the bell family more than that since no life is worth losing. the city needs to fire the officers that opened fire and then also needs to not only pay but also take care of the bell family for the rest of their lives.

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