*Three New York police officers who killed an unarmed man in a 50-shot barrage outside a seedy strip club hours before his wedding in 2006 will not face civil rights charges, federal authorities said Tuesday.
The parents and former fiancee of Sean Bell, along with the Rev. Al Sharpton, had lobbied federal prosecutors in Brooklyn to charge the officers with violating Bell’s civil rights.
“After a careful and thorough review, a team of experienced federal prosecutors and FBI agents determined that the evidence was insufficient to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the law enforcement personnel who fired at Bell (and two friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield) acted willfully,” the Justice Department said in statement. “Accordingly, the investigation into this incident has been closed.”
U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell met with Bell’s family members Tuesday to tell them. At a news conference at Sharpton’s headquarters in Harlem later Tuesday, Guzman, Benefield and Bell’s fiance, Nicole Paultre Bell, said they were disappointed but would continue to demand that the officers be fired and the city held accountable through a pending wrongful death lawsuit.
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