Page last updated at 17:38 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 18:38 UK

In pictures: Sean Bell verdict

An undated family photo of Sean Bell with his fiancee Nicole and their daughter

Three New York police officers who stood trial over the fatal shooting of Sean Bell, 23 - pictured here with his fiancee Nicole and their daughter - have been acquitted by a Supreme Court judge.

Protester outside the Queens, New York courtroom on Friday

The death has prompted accusations of police brutality, and passions were high among protesters outside the court as news of the verdict came through.

Protester outside the Queens, New York courtroom on Friday

Some protesters have also raised allegations of police racism, though two of the three police defendants were black.

Brief scuffles between protesters and police outside the Queens, New York courtroom on Friday

There were brief scuffles between police and protesters as the news came in, but they quickly died down.

Nicole Paultre Bell, centre, leaves in tears with her mother Laura Paultre, left, and Rev Al Sharpton , right

Bell's fiancee Nicole (centre) left the courtroom in tears as the judge delivered his verdict. She was accompanied by veteran campaigner Rev Al Sharpton (right), a vocal supporter throughout the trial.

Evidence photo of the car in which Sean Bell was killed by police

Prosecutors and protesters argue the police officers used unnecessary force, firing a total of 50 shots at the car - 31 by just one officer. This photo shows where the bullets entered the vehicle.

New York Police detectives Michael Oliver (second left), Gescard Isnora (third right) and Marc Cooper (right) during their arraignment on 19 March

But the defendants claimed one of Bell's friends had said he was armed. Their supporters say police officers have to make split-second decisions in high-tension situations.

A detail of an advertisement released in New York on 20 February, featuring Sean Bell's fiancee Nicole Paultre Bell and her children

The defendants chose to have their case heard by a judge and not a jury - claiming the publicity surrounding the case, such as this campaign poster, threatened to prejudice a jury.

Protesters outside the Queens, New York courtroom on Friday

The judge said prosecutors had failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt - but campaigners vow to carry on.



SEE ALSO
Police acquitted over NY shooting
25 Apr 08 |  Americas


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