Sharpton says Bell verdict protests were peaceful

October 6, 2008 2:35:33 PM PDT
The Rev. Al Sharpton says he convened civil rights leaders after the Sean Bell police-shooting acquittals to come up with a way for all New Yorkers to express their outrage. Sharpton testified Monday: "We wanted to stop violence, not cause violence."

Sharpton and seven others are on trial for traffic-snarling protests on May 7. More than 200 demonstrators were arrested. Most cases have been dismissed or adjourned in contemplation of dismissal.

Sharpton, who was arrested near City Hall, testified for the defense of Anthony Estes, a construction worker arrested at the Queens Midtown Tunnel. Both are charged with disorderly conduct.

Sharpton rejected an offer to plead guilty in exchange for time served - 5½ hours.