9-1-1 calls played in court in Bell trial

Three NYC detectives fatally shot Bell in 2006
March 5, 2008 4:15:43 PM PST
You're about to hear the confusing and at times frantic 911 calls made by New York City cops the night Sean Bell was killed in a barrage of 50 police bullets. The tapes were played in court during the trial of three police detectives accused of murdering Bell outside a nightclub in Queens.

Here's Eyewitness News reporter Nina Pineda.

Undercover detective Hispolito Sanchez's 911 call shows how confusing the moments were after the shooting. He had ducked for cover, and scrambled to call an ambulance.

911 Tapes Audio:
Detective Hispolito Sanchez: "I'm an undercover police officer. Shots fired. Shots fired. I'm around the corner from 143."
Operator: "143 what? 143rd Place? 143rd STreet? 143rd Avenue? 143rd and what?"
Sanchez: "You have two perps shot."

For more than three minutes of the call Sanchez tries to figure out a cross street. The undercover testified this week he was the one who overheard Joseph Guzman saying he was going to get a gun, alerting officer Giscard Isnora to set off after him.

In the call it seems as if the plainclothed Sanchez, who is speaking softly, is wary of who may be around him.

Sanchez: We're around the corner from Kalua's strip bar.
Operator: what's the address sir?
Sanchez: we're trying to get an address i'm trying to be safe about it.

At one point in the call Sanchez has to yell to someone else to ask if any in his unit are injured. They were not. Their weapons, the service revolvers of all five officers involved in the fatal shooting were displayed in court today as evidence.

The undercover's testimony is crucial to the defendants because it backs them up. He was the one who says he heard sean bell's friend saying he was going to get a gun. What he didn't hear was anyone shouting "police" in the frantic seconds before the 50 shots were fired.

But what is clear is Sanchez was desperate to get a bus and an ambulance to the scene to help those hurt.

OPERATOR: "You said rush the bus. Rush the bus for two people shot. You have cops on the scene, sir?"
Sanchez: "Yes, yes, yes, yes. We have multiple uniforms on the scene. Just a get a bus here, please."

The undercover admits he was frantic, but his testimony is critical because of what he overheard about a gun. All the detectives need is reasonable doubt.

Tomorrow crime scene unit investigators take the stand. We can expect plenty of questions about the evidence they found, bullets and the like found in and around the vehicles.


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