Lawyers made closing arguments in the Sean Bell shooting trial today to Judge Arthur Cooperman, who is presiding over the bench trial. Defense lawyers argued that the police officers on trial were acting in self-defense.
One lawyer, Paul Martin, blamed Bell's friend Joseph Guzman, for intimating he was going to get a gun to even a score. Martin said, "He was the only person who had the testicular fortitude, who had the talk, who had the attitude to go get a gun and come back and use it. He was a catalyst of the events. He's the reason why we're here today."
Another defense lawyer, James Culleton, said the prosecution witnesses, "a parade of convicted felons, crack dealers and men who were not strangers to weapons," were unreliable, while the third defense lawyer Anthony Ricco said Bell was "a beautiful young guy was hanging with the wrong crowd," not to mention "pissy drunk."
The Post reports the NYPD will have an extra 1,000 cops on hand for whenever Cooperman delivers the verdict. The Reverend Al Sharpton was, per the Daily News, "offended by any suggestion" the possibility of an acquittal would lead to violence, though, saying, "The only violence came from the detectives that night."