I can understand why Sean Bell's killers didn't go to jail. I'm not convinced that a police officer who makes a lethal -- even catastrophic -- mistake should be sent to prison. I'm also not convinced that an officer who's made this sort of catastrophic mistakes should continue in his chosen line of work:
Looking through the side window of Sean Bell's crashed car, the detective grew alarmed as he saw a passenger reach for something. Then the man's arm began to rise toward him. The detective said he surmised there was a gun at the end of that arm."I wasn't going to wait for him to pull up, and, 'Boom!' " the detective, Gescard F. Isnora, testified in a trial room at Police Headquarters on Wednesday. "I wasn't going to wait for that. But me firing my weapon was the last thing I wanted to do....""You didn't see him with anything resembling a gun in his hand, correct?" asked Nancy Slater, a police prosecutor who conducted the cross-examination, referring to a passenger, Joseph Guzman. Detective Isnora said that was true. Her next question suggested that he had not seen anything at all in Mr. Guzman's hand."Correct," the detective said in a weak voice.
"This should not be getting looked at in the trial room at all," Mr. Lynch said. "The police officer felt that there was a weapon; his and other peoples' lives were in danger. He has an obligation and a right to stop that threat, and that's what he was doing."
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