[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/CRIME/04/25/sunny.bell/art.bell.cops.jpg
caption="NYPD detectives Michael Oliver, Gescard Isnora and Marc Cooper gambled on a bench trial."]
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NEW YORK - All weekend, people have been asking me what I think about the acquittals of those three NYPD cops who shot and killed Sean Bell at a Queens nightclub right after his bachelor party there. Bell was unarmed, but police testified they thought he had a gun and that their lives were in danger.
"In Session" Anchor
Most of all, I feel for his parents and fiancée who sat in that courtroom, day after day, quietly hoping for justice. Then they heard the judge say the words "not guilty."
Now, I know there has been case after sorry case of unjustified killings of black men by cops in this country. But each one has to be evaluated on its own merits. And everyone is presumed innocent, police included.
Even with 50 shots fired, the prosecution failed to make its case beyond a reasonable doubt because it couldn't prove the cops were not in fear for their lives. And that's what the law required.
So now, Sean Bell's family should take it to the Department of Justice. Because federal prosecutors can likely prove his civil rights were violated - even if state prosecutors can't prove a crime.
Editor's note: Read more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session”
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