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Cops in Bell case to request bench trial

Will make formal request Friday
January 6, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
A source familiar with the investigation confirms to Eyewitness news that lawyers for the officers charged in the Sean Bell case has sent a letter to the judge requesting a bench trial for all of the officers.Sources say detectives Michael Oliver, Gescard Isnora and Marc Cooper will appear in court sometime Friday to formally waive their right to a jury trial.

It has been a year and two months since Sean Bell was shot and killed in a barrage of police bullets.

On November 25, 2006, just hours before he was to be married, the 23-year old was shot along with two of his friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, outside a Queens strip club.

Three nypd detectives have been indicted, and just yesterday an appeals court shot down defense attorney attempts to move the trial out of Queens.

Rev. Al Sharpton had this response on the new request:

"I think that it is stunning that these officers want to do everything but be accountable to the people they serve in Queens. Now that their motion to change the venue has been denied, they do not want to face a jury of their peers whom they serve and by whom they are paid. Police be should be accountable to the people they serve. It is interesting they would be accountable to people in another venue, but in Queens they do not want to face the people. We are prepared, though, to proceed in any case with our pursuit of justice."

The trial in the Bell shooting set to begin in Queens on February 4th.


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