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Last Updated: Friday, 16 March 2007, 23:24 GMT
Police indicted over NY shooting
Sean Bell with fiancee Nicole Paultre
Sean Bell was shot dead by police officers on 25 November
Three New York policemen face charges over the shooting of an unarmed man on his wedding day, lawyers say.

Sean Bell, a 23-year-old black man, was killed last November when police fired 50 bullets into his car as he left a club after celebrating his stag night.

The shooting prompted outrage in the city and triggered accusations of racism against police.

The police officers were indicted by a grand jury. The charges are due to be revealed on Monday.

Lawyers for officers Mark Cooper, Gescard Isnora and Michael Oliver confirmed that their clients had been indicted.

Two other police officers present at the time of the shooting will not face charges, reports said.

'Lasting legacy'

The BBC's Guto Harri in New York says there is relief in the city that the officers will be prosecuted.

Three of the officers involved that night were black, two were white. Two of Mr Bell's friends, both black, were injured in the shooting.

But, our correspondent says, the killing was widely seen as a disturbing sign of racism within the New York Police Department, which is why the legal process about to take its course will be watched extremely carefully.

Lawyer Peter St George Davis, who is representing Mr Bell's parents, said that they "pray every day that somehow, out of their son's death will come a message or lasting legacy".

But Michael Palladino of the Detectives' Endowment Association said the indictments sent a "chilling message to all New York City police officers".

"You can act in good faith and there is no margin for error," he said.

Police have said they shot at the car because they feared an armed "altercation".


SEE ALSO
Protests over NY police shooting
17 Dec 06 |  Americas
NY police shooting victim buried
02 Dec 06 |  Americas
Mayor 'disturbed' by NY shooting
27 Nov 06 |  Americas
NY rally deplores police shooting
27 Nov 06 |  Americas
NY police kill man on wedding day
26 Nov 06 |  Americas

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