NYC judge allows wrongful death suit to proceed
A New York City judge ruled that a wrongful death lawsuit against five New York City police officers may continue. Sean Bell was shot and killed in 2006 after officers fired over 50 bullets into the car Bell was driving. He had accidentally hit a police officer in the leg with his car while leaving a bachelor party.
The case had been delayed several times by other investigations and criminal proceedings relating to the shooting. The Brooklyn federal judge announced that the civil lawsuit filed by Bell's family could proceed on what would have been Bell's 27th birthday.
The lawsuit accuses the five officers of wrongful death, negligence, assault and civil rights violations.
Bell was in the car with two other friends, both of whom were also shot by the officers. Police say they believed one of the men had a gun, but none of the three men were armed.
Three of the officers had been acquitted by the State Supreme Court of manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges. In addition, the Justice Department declined to bring civil rights charges against the officers. Bell's family has now turned to civil court. The two sides will meet to discuss settlement possibilities, in accordance with the judge's ruling, in late July.