NYPD Officers Surrender To Face Charges In 50-Shot Killing

Monday, March 19th 2007, 7:57 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Three police officers surrendered Monday to face charges in a shooting that killed an unarmed groom on his wedding day.

The policemen, accused of firing most of the 50 shots at three young men in a car outside a nightclub, were being fingerprinted and processed Monday morning before their arraignment.

Michael Oliver, who fired 31 times, and Gescard Isnora, who fired 11 bullets, face felony manslaughter and first-degree assault charges, according to a person close to the investigation, who spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the results were secret.

Those charges are classified as violent felonies with mandated jail time if they are convicted.

Marc Cooper, who fired four shots, faces a misdemeanor endangerment charge, the person said.

Grand jurors declined to indict on the more serious counts of second-degree murder, and attempted murder, or the lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide. Two other officers involved in the shooting were not indicted.

``We are a long way from a conviction,'' said defense attorney Philip Karasyk, who represents Isnora.

Prosecutors have declined to discuss the grand jury's work until the findings are officially released.

The Nov. 25 shooting killed Sean Bell and severely injured two of his bachelor party guests.

Police have said the officers were involved in an undercover investigation at the nightclub when they overheard a conversation that convinced them the men were going to their car to retrieve a gun. They have said that Bell's car hit the unmarked police vehicle and that the officers believed someone in Bell's car was reaching for a gun when they opened fire. No gun was found.

The shooting stirred outrage around New York City and led to accusations of racism against the NYPD. Bell was black, as are the other victims; three of the officers are black, and two are white.