That’s the decision from Police Commissioner Ray Kelly regarding Detective Gescard Isnora, one of the officers involved in the shooting that killed Sean Bell in 2006.
More than three months after a judge in an NYPD departmental hearing decided that Isnora had violated police shooting guidelines, Kelly has finally decided that Isnora will lose his job, pension and health benefits.
Police officers fired 50 shots at Bell outside a Jamaica strip club on his wedding day in 2006. Two other men, who were passengers in the Nissan Altima Bell was driving, Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman, were wounded. None of the men were armed.
Isnora, who was the first to fire and let off 11 shots, broke the rules on shooting and revealing his identity as an undercover cop, the judge had decided, but it was up to Kelly to make the final call about the punishment.
Police Officer Michael Carey, who fired three rounds and was also facing departmental charges, was acquitted. The others involved — Detective Michael Oliver, Detective Marc Cooper and Lt. Gary Napoli — cut plea deals with the department. They have agreed to resign in exchange for getting to keep all or part of their pensions.
The decision offers little consolation to Bell’s still grieving parents.
“It really doesn’t help,” Bell’s father, William, said Monday. “They can get another job, but I can’t get my son back. They should have been punished from the very beginning. They got away with murder.”
Asked what he thought the fate of Isnora and the others should be, Bell didn’t have an answer. “I guess God will punish them, he said. “They are going to suffer in some kind of way.”
Bell’s mother, Valerie, expressed similar sentiments.
“After all these years, if they didn’t get convicted of murder and people don’t see what they did is wrong, then I have no faith in the justice system. The only satisfaction I get is being able to carry on my son’s name through the community center and help people, which is what he would have done, if he were still alive.”
William and Valerie Bell founded the Sean Elijah Bell Community Center in Jamaica last year. It is run entirely by volunteers and provides services including GED prep, after-school programs and legal referrals for adults.
In May 2010, the section of Liverpool Street between 94th Avenue and 101st Street was renamed Sean Bell Way. One of those in attendance at the unveiling ceremony was City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans).
The lawmaker said Monday that Kelly made the right decision in deciding to fire Isnora. “It was the maximum they could give under the restrictions they had,” Comrie said. “He was acquitted of the criminal charges, so that is water under the bridge. Does the decision bring Sean Bell back? No. Does it make his family feel any better? No. It was a situation that should have never happened.”
Isnora’s attorney, Philip Karasyk, did not return calls requesting comment by press time.