Not Guilty in Sean Bell trial...

Behind The News
April 25, 2008 1:06:58 PM PDT
There are no winners. That pretty much sums up the Sean Bell case. The no-winner logic would have applied no matter what the verdict. As it is, the three undercover New York cops who were on trial for killing Bell were acquitted on all counts.

The verdict from the judge came 17 months to the day after Bell was killed outside a strip club in Queens.

"Yo, Bill, how could they get away with that? How can they just shoot a guy? Fifty bullets?"

That reaction this morning from the guy who picks up the trash from my street - and it was not surprising. But we also know that police work, and these types of cases, are not always cut and dry.

The reactions were predictable, from all quarters. There were calls for protest from folks like Al Sharpton, who has supported -- emotionally, politically and financially -- the surviving family of Sean Bell; calls for calm from Mayor Bloomberg - whom you'll recall right after the shooting said the barrage of more than 4 dozen bullets seemed excessive; and a heartfelt apology from one of the three cops, to the family of Sean Bell.

The Bell shooting has sparked some changes in the way the NYPD deals with undercover detectives - both their training and procedures after a shooting, most notably requiring breathalyzers of everyone involved.

And the legal situation over this shooting is hardly ended. There will be civil actions filed by the Bell family, and the families of his two friends who were injured. And the Dept. of Justice now says it will investigate the shooting for possible civil rights violations.

We'll have the latest on the case, and the reactions, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, with the high price of food on so many peoples' minds, we take a look at how grocery stores in New York City are complying with some products that are price-regulated by the State. Products such as milk. Tappy Phillips and 7 On Your Side come up with some surprising results.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's weekend AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.

BILL RITTER


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