A lawyer said that the city's $3.25 million payment to settle the wrongful death lawsuit of Sean Bell, who was killed in a hail of 50 bullets hours before his wedding, was the largest payout for a police shooting. According to Newsday, "The Bell settlement in the Brooklyn federal court case topped recoveries by Amadou Diallo ($3 million), Ousmane Zongo ($3 million) and Patrick Dorismond ($2 million), three other men who died in notorious police shooting cases in the city."

Bell was killed while two friends were injured in a chaotic confrontation with police after leaving a Queens strip club in November 2006: Undercover police officers thought the men were armed while Bell and his friends didn't realize that the plainclothes police officers with their guns drawn were cops, so Bell drove into them, trying to escape.

Lawyer Sanford Rubenstein noted that while Bell's work history didn't provide high potential for lost wages, "his damages were elevated because he had two young daughters entitled to compensation for losing their father." Additionally, Newsday explains, "Survivors of police abuse - such as Abner Louima, who got $7.125 million - frequently receive more than death cases because they are able to collect for post-incident pain and suffering." However, Bell's fiancee Nicole Paultre Bell said that while the settlement was financially "reasonable...Nothing can replace their father."

The NY Times, who also pointed out a study that showed wrongful death suits are settled for an average of "about twice as much as for herniated disc cases and a third as much as for cases involving brain damage," spoke to a former lawyer in the city's Law Department, who said, "The city always tries to get away with paying as little as possible, and in the end it always caves in and settles, because it fears what the jury might award in such a high-profile matter. Make it go away: that has been the policy of this administration."

Joseph Guzman, who was shot 17 times, received $3 million but said, "Nobody wins in this."