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Brutality discussion in wake of Bell verdict - Fort Greene Peace holds forum

Questions of NYPD racial profiling and police brutality were discussed at length during an eye-opening forum held by Fort Greene Peace.

Gathering together at the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church at South Oxford Street, those in attendance discussed the Sean Bell case, as well as the outcome of the trial in which the officers accused of killing the Queens groom were acquitted of all charges.

They also discussed how lessons learned during the Sean Bell case could be used to promote reform in how the NYPD handles situations like the one that ended Bell’s life.

Bell was gunned down outside of a Queens strip club back in November, 2006 during a confrontation with undercover cops. He was killed a day before his wedding, grieving family members said. Two of Bell’s friends were also wounded.

The incident sparked fierce criticism of the police from some members of the public and drew comparisons to the 1999 killing of Amadou Diallo.

Three of the five detectives involved in the shooting went to trial on charges ranging from manslaughter to reckless endangerment, but were found not guilty.

The verdicts sparked a flurry of protests, including a pray-in that took place at the mouth of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Officials said that about 20 protestors were arrested during the demonstration, including Councilmember Charles Barron and the Reverend Herbert Daughtry.

Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes announced this week that the cases against those arrested in the Sean Bell protest were going to be dismissed.

“Everybody arrested in connection with the demonstrations surrounding the Sean Bell trial will be offered ACDs (Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal), which will result, after six months, in the full dismissal of the charges and sealing of the files.”

Keynote speakers at the forum included former NYPD detective and Fort Greene State Senator Eric Adams and civil rights attorney Norman Siegel.

This forum was co-sponsored by Brooklyn for Peace.

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