Radio transmission released in Bell case

Detective Michael Oliver fired 31 shots
March 24, 2008 8:03:43 PM PDT
For the first time Monday, we are hearing the words of the police officer who fired 31 shots at Sean Bell and his friends outside a strip club in Queens.Detective Michael Oliver fired more than any other officer. His grand jury testimony was read into record by the prosecution Monday. Then, his dramatic radio transmission was released.

The audio isn't perfect, but you can clearly hear Oliver say "Shots fired, shots fired," over and over again. It is a chilling glimpse into the chaos and confusion the night Sean Bell was killed.

Meanwhile, Oliver's grand jury testimony was also released. He told the grand jury he kept on shooting until he ran out of bullets.

"I saw Detective Isnora yelling, 'He's got a gun, he's got a gun,'" Oliver said. "I yelled, 'Police, don't move. Don't move.' I didn't want to die. I continued to fire at the passenger side because I didn't want him [Joseph Guzman] to shoot me."

All of that came after testimony from a civilian eyewitnesses.

Of all the civilian witnesses, Johnell Hankerson was the closest to the shooting. He said he turned and ran moments before the first shot was fired into Bell's car.

"I noticed another individual I saw in the club," he testified. "He approached the car with a gun drawn, like he came out of nowhere."

He then identified undercover detective Gescard Isnora, saying, "I remember his face."

Hankerson said he took off.

"I heard an engine revving, tires screeching and gunshots," he said. "There was a pause, then more gunshots."

"I couldn't believe what just happened," he told the judge. "I didn't want to believe it."

When asked whether he heard any words leading up to the shooting, Hankerson insisted, "No words were exchanged."

And with that, Hankerson became the latest in a long line of prosecution witnesses who differ on some details, but agree on one crucial point: That they never heard the detectives identify themselves as police officers either before or during the shooting.

Even their own commander admitted as much earlier this month. It is one reason the detectives are expected to testify in their own defense.

"The judge has to decide justification through the eyes of the defendant, the cops," Detectives Endowment Association President Michael Palladino said. "Not through the eyes of the prosecution witnesses."

Were the detectives justified and did they identify themselves as police officers are two crucial questions as this trial enters its fifth week.


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