The New York City detective who was fired for the 2006 shooting of Sean Bell — a man killed after leaving his bachelor party — has decided to take legal action against the police department. Detective Gescard Isnora, an 11-year-veteran, was the first to fire shots at Bell and his friends outside of a Queens nightclub because he thought he was reaching for a firearm. According to his attorney, Isnora will lose the financial equivalent up to $2 million dollars plus benefits over his lifetime since he was not on the force for the required 20 years. “The decision by the police commissioner was arbitrary and capricious,” said Philip E. Karasyk, the lawyer who is evaluating Isnora’s options under state and federal law.
An internal trial in November 2011 tried the other officers involved in the incident. (Michael Carey, Det. Michael Oliver, and Det. Marc Cooper) Carey was found to have acted properly. Cooper, a 20-year-veteran, and Oliver, an 18-year-veteran, were acquitted of criminal charges but submitted letters of resignation Monday. All the officers involved will be allowed to keep their pensions in some form, but Isnora’s termination prevents him from receiving anything.
Why weren’t they all tried more harshly? Does Isnora have a case?