Posted by: communitycop | March 8, 2008

Undercover cop, paramedics testify in Sean Bell case

Updated Tuesday, March 4th 2008, 12:18 PM

One of Sean Bell‘s pals yelled, “Get my gun” two times in the minutes before the groom-to-be died in a barrage of 50 police bullets, an undercover cop testified yesterday.

Detective Hispolito Sanchez said Bell and Joseph Guzman confronted a man in an SUV outside the Jamaica strip club where they just finished a bachelor party.

“[Bell] said, ‘Let’s f— them up,'” Sanchez, 36, testified. “[Guzman] said, ‘Yo, go get my gun.'”

Sanchez, the first witness from among the detectives who had been inside the Kalua Cabaret, said Bell walked away when the driver put his hands in his pockets as if he had a weapon.

The doomed man returned moments later and repeated the same threatening comments, Sanchez said.

After hearing about the faceoff, cops set in motion the confrontation that ended with police shooting Bell dead and wounding his two friends on Nov. 25, 2006.

Lawyers for Bell’s family promptly accused Sanchez of making up the repartee to protect his fellow cops.

“Yes, I think he lied,” said Neville Mitchell, who represents the slain man’s family.

Detectives Michael Oliver and Gescard Isnora are facing manslaughter charges for unleashing the fusillade on Bell, who was supposed to get married the day he was killed. Detective Marc Cooper was charged with reckless endangerment.

Sanchez said he was with Cooper and Isnora inside the bar and drank a Heineken and a Corona beer while trying to talk a dancer into accepting his sex-for-cash offer.

None of the cops had any luck making a prostitution arrest and the boisterous crowd got out of hand as partiers poured outside of the shabby strip club at closing time, Sanchez said.

“It was a lot rowdier,” the cop testified.

Sanchez’s testimony could back up the cops’ claim that they believed Bell was armed and that they opened fire after he ignored orders to stop his car.

Sanchez also conceded his colleagues failed to follow the man in the SUV — who may have been armed — and instead raced down the sidewalk for the botched confrontation with Bell and his friends.

“They let him get away,” Mitchell said.

A dramatic videotape earlier showed one of Bell’s wounded friends lying bloody and facedown on the pavement moments after the shooting.

Bell’s would-be bride, Nicole Paultre Bell, clasped her hands in prayer and gazed horrified at the video showing Trent Benefield screaming in pain.

“I can’t feel my legs,” Benefield yelled on the tape, which was shot by amateur videographer Anthony South, 37, who heard about the shooting on a police scanner.

A top paramedic earlier testified that Bell was near death when she arrived at the scene minutes after the shooting.

Emergency Medical Services Lt. Elise Hanlon said another paramedic was trying to revive the unarmed groom-to-be outside the Jamaica strip club where cops shot Bell and two pals after his bachelor party.

“[Bell] was not moving,” Hanlon testified in Queens Supreme Court. “He was pulseless.”

Hanlon and another paramedic said they recalled seeing a police badge dangling from the neck of an undercover cop when they arrived at the scene — a key dispute in the nonjury trial.

The supervising cop at the scene, Lt. Gary Napoli, shocked the trial last week when he conceded that he couldn’t remember seeing any badges at the scene and didn’t hear any of the cops identify themselves as police officers.


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