USA > Law, Justice > Charges > Grand jury, Prosecution > Indictment
The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
14 October 2011
Catholic bishop indicted for unreported child abuse
American Catholic bishop Robert Finn,
of the Kansas City, Mo.,
has been indicted for failing to report suspected child abuse.
Michelle Miller reports on the significant charge
- unprecedented in the history of the Catholic Church
in the United States.
What is a criminal indictment?
All of us have read newspaper headlines
about a person being indicted
for a criminal offense.
What exactly is an indictment,
and what does it do?
is a formal accusation of a crime.
While today there are ways to accuse
someone of committing a crime
other than through an indictment,
indictments are still used
in the United States,
They are used less frequently
in the state court system.
The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
requires that a person cannot be charged
with a capital or otherwise
other than by presentment or indictment by a grand jury.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled
that this amendment does not apply to state courts.
Therefore the use of grand juries
is optional for state courts.
- 17 August 2014
indictment UK / USA
federal grand jury indictment > Bernard B. Kerick’s indictment
grand jury of the county of New York
against Chinese businessman Li Fang Wei
grand jury of the county of New York
against Chinese businessman Li Fang Wei > accuse
an indictment against N
felony abuse indictment
judge > indictment
grand jury indictment
Supreme Court of the State of New York > County of Bronx > Indictment
federal grand jury indictment > charges
be indicted by a federal grand jury
federal grand jury indictment
Bernard B. Kerick’s indictment
laws on grand jury secrecy
an 11-count indictment against N
waive an indictment
grand jury > Indict N on felony
grand jury > indict the officer on a
punishable by life in prison,
and a voluntary manslaughter charge
grand jury > indict six police
on homicide and assault charges in the death of
by a grand jury
on charge of abuse of
power / on two felony counts
by a federal grand jury
on charges of accepting
more than $140,000 in loans and gifts
in exchange for promoting
the business of a political patron
who was seeking special favors
from the state government.
on one count of attempted first-degree grand larceny
on terror-related charges, including treason
on charges of negligent homicide and cruelty to the infirm
be indicted on a perjury charge /
be charged with perjury
be indicted on 46 felonies
including murder and attempted murder
be indicted on a charge of tampering
with a governmental record, a felony,
and on a misdemeanor charge
related to purchasing human organs
money laundering indictment
criminal conspiracy indictment
be indicted by a federal jury
on five felony charges of
seek felony indictments against
one count of obstruction of justice,
two counts of making false statements to F.B.I. investigators
and two counts of
lying to the grand jury
charge > murder
be charged in U.S.
District Court / indictment against ... issued by a federal grand jury
be charged with
plotting to steal
bone and other tissue from
plead not guilty
to charges outlined in a 471-count indictment
Supreme Court of the State of New York > County of Bronx > Indictment
be indicted on terror-related charges, including treason
be indicted on charges
of negligent homicide and cruelty to the infirm
be indicted by Travis County grand juries
on money laundering and
be indicted for conspiracy to commit
Bill of Indictment
grand jury > sealed indictment >
hand up murder charges against
be indicted on 42 counts of insider trading
grand jury transcript
make false and misleading statements
deny any wrongdoing
plead not guilty
to an indictment on 11 counts
relating to N
plead not guilty by reason of insanity
plead not guilty to first-degree manslaughter
plead not guilty to charges of
kidnapping and murdering...
more serious charges of aggravated
prosecutors > indictment >
indictment on nine counts,
including malice murder, felony murder
and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
the 9-count, 41-page racketeering conspiracy
hand down a
10-count indictment against
indictment > unseal
serve two years'
violate terms of
set bail at
put up bail of $10,000
be free on $25,000 bail
file criminal charges
be indicted by a
on a variety of charges
including violations of civil rights, criminal
harassment, and stalking
charges of negligent homicide and cruelty to the infirm
impanel a grand
grand jury appearance
The New York Times
It is a
dark day for the rule of law. Federal and state authorities have chosen not to
indict HSBC, the London-based bank, on charges of vast and prolonged money
laundering, for fear that criminal prosecution would topple the bank and, in the
process, endanger the financial system. They also have not charged any top HSBC
banker in the case, though it boggles the mind that a bank could launder money
as HSBC did without anyone in a position of authority making culpable decisions.
Clearly, the government has bought into the notion that too big to fail is too
big to jail. When prosecutors choose not to prosecute to the full extent of the
law in a case as egregious as this, the law itself is diminished. The deterrence
that comes from the threat of criminal prosecution is weakened, if not lost.
In the HSBC case, prosecutors may want the public to focus on the $1.92 billion
settlement, which includes forfeiture of $1.26 billion and other penalties, as
well as requirements to improve its internal controls and submit to the
oversight of an outside monitor for the next five years. But even large
financial settlements are small compared with the size of international major
banks. More important, once criminal sanctions are considered off limits,
penalties and forfeitures become just another cost of doing business, a risk
factor to consider on the road to profits.
There is no doubt that the wrongdoing at HSBC was serious and pervasive. Several
foreign banks have been fined in recent years for flouting United States
sanctions against transferring money through American subsidiaries on behalf of
clients in countries like Iran, Sudan and Cuba. HSBC’s actions were even more
egregious. According to several law enforcement officials with knowledge of the
inquiry, prosecutors found that, for years, HSBC had also moved tainted money
from Mexican drug cartels and Saudi banks with ties to terrorist groups.
Those findings echo those of a Congressional report, issued in July, which said
that between 2001 and 2010, HSBC exposed the American “financial system to money
laundering and terrorist financing risks.” Prosecutors and Congressional
investigators were also alarmed by indications that senior HSBC officials might
have been complicit in the illegal activity and that the bank did not tighten
its lax controls against money laundering even after repeated urgings from
Yet government officials will argue that it is counterproductive to levy
punishment so severe that a bank could be destroyed in the process. That may be
true as far as it goes. But if banks operating at the center of the global
economy cannot be held fully accountable, the solution is to reduce their size
by breaking them up and restricting their activities — not shield them and their
leaders from prosecution for illegal activities.
Too Big to Indict,
Charges for Officer
in Killing of Man, 68
May 3, 2012
The New York Times
By JAMES BARRON
and NATE SCHWEBER
jury voted not to indict a White Plains police officer who shot and killed a
68-year-old former correction officer and former Marine in his apartment last
November, the Westchester County district attorney said Thursday.
District Attorney Janet DiFiore called the shooting “a tragedy on many levels.”
But she said the grand jury had concluded that “there was no reasonable cause”
to indict Officer Anthony Carelli, who fired the shot that killed the victim,
Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.
Officer Carelli and several other officers were sent to Mr. Chamberlain’s
apartment after his medical-alert pendant went off and he did not respond to a
call from a medical-alert agency operator.
After Ms. DiFiore announced the grand jury’s decision, the White Plains police
released more than 200 pages of documents about the encounter, along with audio
and video recordings made as it unfolded. In one report, Officer Stephen Demchuk
described Mr. Chamberlain as “acting irrational” when the police arrived and
said he stuck an eight-inch butcher knife through a crack in the door.
Mr. Chamberlain made “continuous slashing motions towards my head and face,”
said Officer Demchuk, who was ordered to break down the door, but added that Mr.
Chamberlain held it shut “with the assistance of a chair.”
The officers eventually broke down the front door. Four officers entered and
tried to subdue Mr. Chamberlain, first with a Taser weapon, then with a shotgun
loaded with beanbag-type ammunition intended to disable someone without causing
serious injury. Officer Demchuk said Officer Carelli fired his .40-caliber
pistol when Mr. Chamberlain went after another police officer “with the butcher
Mr. Chamberlain’s family issued a statement saying they were “profoundly
saddened” that the grand jury had not found reason to charge Officer Carelli.
Lawyers for the family said they would ask the Justice Department to investigate
David E. Chong, the White Plains public safety commissioner, whose department
oversees the police, said an internal review would now be finished.
Andrew C. Quinn, a lawyer for Officer Carelli, did not return a call seeking
Ms. DiFiore said the grand jury had heard from 42 witnesses, 21 of whom were
civilians — including the emergency room physician who examined Mr. Chamberlain.
Ms. DiFiore said that one officer, who was not identified, used a racial epithet
outside the first-floor apartment. “The use of a racial epithet in any context
is offensive to the dignity of all of us,” she said. When spoken by a police
officer, she added, “It’s intolerable.” But she said the grand jury had not
found it to be criminal. Mr. Chamberlain was black. Officer Carelli is white,
The Associated Press has reported.
The episode began when Mr. Chamberlain, who could not walk more than a short
distance without becoming short of breath, apparently set off his medical-alert
pendant accidentally. (An autopsy showed later that his blood-alcohol level was
Responding to the alarm signal, the system operator tried to establish contact
using a two-way speaker in the apartment. “Mr. Chamberlain, are you O. K.?” the
When he did not reply, the operator arranged for an ambulance. Patrol cars were
Randolph M. McLaughlin, a lawyer for Mr. Chamberlain’s family, disputed the
police account. He said Mr. Chamberlain had not thrust a knife at Officer
Demchuk’s face, as he described, although Mr. McLaughlin said video, which had
been recorded by cameras in the officers’ Taser weapons, showed “a metal object
coming out” from behind the door.
He also said that Officer Carelli fired his pistol immediately after the shotgun
with the beanbag ammunition had been fired. “The shots are beanbag, beanbag,
beanbag, gun,” he said. “They weren’t giving him a chance, or themselves, or
The documents the police released on Thursday indicated that the officers
insisted on going in because they believed someone else might have been in the
apartment. They had heard Mr. Chamberlain talking to someone — someone he
addressed, according to one of the police reports, as “Mr. President.”
No Charges for Officer in Killing of Man, 68, NYT, 3.5.2012,
Charges in 2 Manhattan Murders
January 26, 2011
The New York Times
By MOSI SECRET
One victim, Cornelia Michel Crilley, was a Trans World Airlines flight
attendant who was raped and strangled in her Upper East Side apartment in 1971;
the other, Ellen Jane Hover, an aspiring orchestra conductor who disappeared one
summer day in 1977 — and whose remains were found nearly a year later on the
Rockefeller estate in Westchester County.
The two women, both 23 at the time of their deaths, most likely did not know
each other. But according to law enforcement officials, they had at least one
connection: both were killed by Rodney Alcala, a photographer and one-time
contestant on “The Dating Game” who is on death row in California for killing a
12-year-old girl and four women in the late 1970s. He has been in prison there
A grand jury in Manhattan has indicted Mr. Alcala, 67, on charges that he
murdered Ms. Crilley and Ms. Hover, according to a law enforcement official
familiar with the case. The Manhattan district attorney’s office would not
comment on the indictment. Mr. Alcala may also have been involved in other
killings, officials say.
One of Ms. Hover’s relatives said she was gratified at the expected indictment.
“For the longest time, it was a foregone conclusion that he would never be
charged for her murder,” said Sheila Weller, a cousin of Ms. Hover. “This is a
But Leon Borstein, who was Ms. Crilley’s boyfriend and said he was with the
police when they discovered her body in her apartment, said he did not see the
point of prosecuting a serial killer already on death row.
“All it does is entertain him, and it doesn’t do anything for us,” Mr. Borstein
said. “He gets to fly out to New York, meet with his lawyers, sit in a courtroom
for days on end. It certainly alleviates the boredom of sitting in a jail cell.”
For more than three decades, the killings of Ms. Crilley and Ms. Hover remained
unsolved. It is unclear when detectives in New York became interested in Mr.
Alcala — who lived in New York in the early 1970s, attended New York University
under an alias and worked as a photographer — as a possible suspect. Law
enforcement officials would not say. But a former boyfriend of Ms. Hover’s said
in an interview that the police told him two weeks after her 1977 disappearance
that a man with California connections might be involved.
In 2003, New York police detectives investigating the Crilley murder went to
California with a warrant to interview Mr. Alcala and get a dental impression
from him, said Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman. Mr. Alcala, who
was in prison for the murders in California, initially denied that he had ever
visited New York. But after the police presented him with the warrant, he
responded, “What took you so long?” Mr. Browne said.
A forensic dentist later issued an opinion that a bite mark on Ms. Crilley’s
body was consistent with Mr. Alcala’s impression, a law enforcement official
While investigating Ms. Crilley’s murder, detectives with the Police
Department’s Cold Case Squad learned that Mr. Alcala had used an alias, John
Berger, when he was living in New York, Mr. Browne said. They later found that
name in the file folder for Ms. Hover’s case, he said.
Ms. Weller said her cousin had an appointment with the man to take pictures
before she disappeared.
Last year, the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., opened a cold
case unit to review thousands of unsolved murders, and the cases of Ms. Crilley
and Ms. Hover were among those the office reviewed. The district attorney’s
office would not discuss its role in the investigation, but, speaking generally,
Mr. Vance said in a statement, “Cold cases are not forgotten cases.”
Later in 2010, after the police released dozens of photographs of young women
that were found in a storage locker that Mr. Alcala kept in Seattle in 1979 to
see if there were other victims, several women came forward claiming that a
photographer named John Berger had taken their picture in New York in the 1970s.
The trove also included items from the victims in the California cases, who were
killed from 1977 to 1979. They were all sexually assaulted and strangled or
beaten to death. Their cases were solved largely with DNA evidence, and, after a
lengthy legal process in which murder convictions against Mr. Alcala were
overturned twice, he was convicted there on a retrial in February 2010.
Prosecutors presented evidence that Mr. Alcala would approach young women and
ask to take their picture as a way to lure them.
Mr. Alcala’s violent offenses date back more than four decades, the authorities
said. In 1968, he kidnapped, beat and molested an 8-year-old girl in Los Angeles
County, and was on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most-wanted list, the
authorities said. He became a camp counselor in New Hampshire but was arrested
after someone noticed his picture on a flier at the post office. He was turned
over to the police in Los Angeles, and was convicted in 1972. He was paroled
after 34 months.
When not incarcerated, Mr. Alcala, whom the authorities have described as highly
intelligent, assumed the life of a freewheeling bachelor. In 1978, he was
“Bachelor No. 1” on an episode of “The Dating Game,” and the host described him
as “a successful photographer who got his start when his father found him in the
darkroom at the age of 13, fully developed,” according to a YouTube video of the
show. “Between takes, you might find him sky-diving or motorcycling.”
Wearing a brown bell-bottom suit and a shirt with a butterfly collar, the
long-haired Mr. Alcala won the contest, charming the bachelorette with sexual
innuendo. The woman later decided not to go on the date with him because she
found him disturbing, according to several news reports.
Mr. Borstein, Ms. Crilley’s boyfriend, said she was “funny and full of life,”
with long brown hair and an infectious smile. The details of her murder are
still fresh in his memory. He was working as a Brooklyn homicide prosecutor at
the time, and he spent most nights with the police interviewing witnesses for
When Ms. Crilley’s mother called to tell him her daughter was missing, he went
with the police to her apartment. “They found her dead body inside,” he said.
“They asked if I would identify the body, and I said no. I didn’t want to see
her like that.”
He said he did not know why the investigation had stalled for so many years; as
Ms. Crilley’s boyfriend, he said, he became a suspect, and his friends in the
Police Department did not share information with him.
Ms. Hover’s disappearance drew the attention of the national press, in part
because her father, once a Hollywood nightclub owner, rubbed elbows with
celebrities. Her godfathers were Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin. Her mother and
stepfather hired a private detective to work on the case.
Bruce Ditnes, who had dated Ms. Hover, recalled hanging up posters with her
picture near her Midtown apartment in 101-degree weather after she was reported
missing. He said she had long black hair down to her waist and “gorgeous brown
eyes.” He said he was not surprised that she had caught Mr. Alcala’s eye.
“Ellen would literally cause traffic accidents,” he said. “We would walk into
restaurants, and people would spill things on themselves.”
John Eligon and William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.
After Decades, Charges
in 2 Manhattan Murders, NYT, 26.1.2011,
Set for Clemens
The New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
the federal courthouse in Washington said Thursday that the seven-time Cy Young
Award winner Roger Clemens would be arraigned
Monday afternoon on criminal charges.
Clemens will appear before United States District Judge Reggie Walton to answer
charges of lying to Congress about his use of steroids.
Clemens was indicted last week by a federal
grand jury on charges that he lied during his testimony in a nationally
televised hearing in February 2008 before the House Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform when he said that he had never used performance-enhancing
The 48-year-old Clemens was charged with
three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of
obstruction of Congress. Under current sentencing guidelines, a conviction would
most likely bring a 15- to 21-month sentence.
Arraignment Set for Clemens, NYT, 26.8.2010,
Qaeda Leader Indicted
in New York
July 7, 2010
The New York Times
By WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM
Meeting with violent Salvadoran
gangs in Honduras. Seeking radioactive material at a university in Hamilton,
Ontario. Running an import-export business and teaching English — wife and child
in tow — in Morocco. Hiding out in Suriname.
These are just some of the points of interest on the trail — or, to be more
precise, the rumored trail — of an American citizen who spent part of his youth
in Brooklyn, went to college in Florida and has long been on the Federal Bureau
of Investigation’s most-wanted list, a senior Qaeda operative who over the last
seven years has been portrayed as part wraith, part James Bond, and large-scale
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn formally named that citizen, Adnan
G. el-Shukrijumah, in an official case, charging him with crimes that the
authorities say were all too real: the bomb plot last summer to attack three New
York City subway lines and what they said was a related plot, one that British
authorities said included a plan to blow up a shopping center in Manchester,
According to a Justice Department news release announcing the charges, Mr.
Shukrijumah, 34, was one of a panel of three men overseeing Al Qaeda’s efforts
to carry out attacks in the United States and other Western countries.
And in that role, he helped recruit three young men for the subway plot — men
who had attended high school together in New York City and had traveled to the
tribal areas in Pakistan for terror training, the news release said.
A Saudi-born naturalized American, the elusive Mr. Shukrijumah was the focus of
intense attention in the months after the 9/11 attacks because of his
citizenship, his knowledge of the United States and, eventually, the realization
that he was tied to senior Qaeda operatives and possibly involved in a
dirty-bomb plot. United States officials have offered a reward of up to $5
million for information leading to his capture.
But he seemed to drop off the radar screens of law enforcement and intelligence
agencies about five years ago, and quickly became the subject of rumors. For a
period of time, was reportedly sighted in locales including Panama, Trinidad and
Tobago, southern Florida and Yemen. He remains at large, officials said, and
some experts believe that he has long been in hiding in the tribal areas,
discounting the myriad sightings reported elsewhere around the globe.
“He very much disappeared,” said Evan F. Kohlmann, a veteran terrorism analyst
with Flashpoint Global Partners in New York who has consulted for the
government, referring to Mr. Shukrijumah. “There were reports of him surfacing
all over the place, but I don’t believe he was ever there. I believe he was back
in Waziristan, which is the only safe place he could hide.”
The 10-count indictment charges Mr. Shukrijumah and three other men with a range
of crimes in connection with the New York subway plot, which prosecutors say Mr.
Shukrijumah helped organize, and the planned attack in Manchester.
It supplements an earlier indictment brought in Brooklyn charging the three men
he recruited for the subway plot, including Najibullah Zazi, whom prosecutors
identified as a central figure in that planned attack.
Both Mr. Zazi and a second defendant, Zarein Ahmedzay, 25, have been cooperating
with the F.B.I. and federal prosecutors and probably provided some of the
information that led to the new indictment. The third defendant, Adis
Medunjanin, 26, plans to go to trial.
The new charges include conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction,
conspiring and attempting to commit an act of terrorism across national
boundaries, conspiring to provide and providing material support to Al Qaeda and
other terrorism-related crimes.
The new charges for the first time link the subway plot with a planned Qaeda
attack in Britain and contain the government’s most detailed account to date on
the development of the subway conspiracy and the identities of its authors in
the tribal areas of Pakistan.
It also describes how Rashid Rauf and Saleh al-Somali — who prosecutors say were
then responsible along with Mr. Shukrijumah for planning Qaeda attacks in the
United States and other Western countries — communicated from the tribal areas
through “an Al Qaeda facilitator” in Peshawar, Pakistan. Both Mr. Rauf and Mr.
al-Somali have since been killed in United States drone strikes in the tribal
areas, according to officials.
The facilitator, according to the authorities, used the same e-mail account to
send coded messages to Mr. Zazi, in Denver and New York, and one of the accused
Manchester plotters, Abid Naseer, in Britain.
The facilitator, who was identified in the indictment only as Ahmad or Zahid,
was also charged.
The indictment was filed in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, where it is
being prosecuted by the office of Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney
for the Eastern District of New York.
Mr. Naseer was one of 11 men — 10 of them Pakistanis — arrested in April 2009 by
British authorities who were investigating the Manchester plot in one of that
nation’s most extensive counterterrorism operations since the 9/11 attacks. A
fourth defendant in the new indictment, Tariq Ur Rehman, who was arrested at the
same time as Mr. Nasser and later deported, is also at large. Mr. Naseer, who
fought deportation, was arrested on Wednesday and is currently in custody in
Britain. The United States intends to seek his extradition.
Qaeda Leader Indicted in New York
Subway Plot, NYT, 7.7.2010,
Leads to Charges for 3 Detectives
March 17, 2007
The New York Times
By AL BAKER
A grand jury voted yesterday to indict three city police detectives — two
black men and a white man — in the killing of an unarmed 23-year-old black man
who died in a burst of 50 police bullets outside a Queens strip club hours
before he was to be wed last year, defense lawyers and police union leaders said
The jury charged two of the detectives — Gescard F. Isnora, an undercover
officer who fired the first shot, and Michael Oliver, who fired 31 shots — with
manslaughter, two people with direct knowledge of the case said. The third
detective, Marc Cooper, who fired four shots, faces a lesser charge of reckless
endangerment, those two people said.
Detectives Isnora and Cooper are black; Detective Oliver is white. They were
among five police officers who fired into a gray Nissan Altima carrying the
bridegroom, Sean Bell, and two friends during a chaotic confrontation in Jamaica
early on the morning of Nov. 25. Neither Mr. Bell nor his friends, both of whom
were wounded, were armed, although the police officers apparently believed that
The grand jury reached its decision after three days of deliberations and nearly
two months of hearing evidence in an emotionally charged case whose stark
outlines — five officers firing 50 bullets at three unarmed men who had been out
celebrating — prompted an outpouring of anger in some minority communities, and
widespread comparisons to the death of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African street
peddler who was felled by 19 of 41 police officers’ bullets fired at him in
The grand jurors, who dispersed into the wintry afternoon yesterday, indicted
the three officers on less-serious charges than the second-degree murder charges
filed against the four police officers who shot Mr. Diallo. All four were
It was unclear whether Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney, sought
the indictment of the other two officers who fired at Mr. Bell, Detective Paul
Headley, 35, who fired one shot, and Officer Michael Carey, 26, who fired three
shots. All five of the officers testified voluntarily before the grand jury
without immunity from prosecution.
Mr. Brown scheduled a news conference on Monday morning. Lawyers for the
indicted detectives said they had been told to have the men surrender on Monday
— the next day that State Supreme Court in Queens is in session. Mr. Brown’s
office, which would not confirm the indictments, said the grand jury’s decision
had to remain sealed until at least one officer was formally charged in court.
The person with direct knowledge of the case who said Detectives Isnora and
Oliver faced manslaughter charges did not know if they were first- or
second-degree counts. Second-degree manslaughter is defined as recklessly
causing the death of another person. First-degree manslaughter is defined as
causing the death of a person while intending to cause serious physical injury
to that person or causing the death of a third person under those circumstances.
The three officers may also face additional lesser charges.
Some leaders in the black community expressed muted optimism as news of the
indictments spread late yesterday, while others felt the indictments did not go
far enough. In Jamaica, some detected a sense of relief that at least some of
the officers would face charges.
“As long as I know that somebody got something, I can live with that,” said
Bishop Lester Williams, who was to officiate at Mr. Bell’s wedding on the day he
died. “I have some degree of relief.”
If there had been no indictments, he said, “you have groups out there that would
not have been calm. The youth of this city would have responded.”
Lawyers for the indicted officers criticized the grand jury’s action.
Philip E. Karasyk, who represents Detective Isnora, said, “Obviously, my client
is upset, and he’s looking forward to having his day in court, and we’re all
confident he will be vindicated.”
Paul P. Martin, a lawyer for Detective Cooper, 39, said: “I am disappointed with
the grand jury’s decision, but this is just the first stage of a long process,
and I am confident that once all the facts are considered by a jury of Detective
Cooper’s peers that he will be exonerated of all charges.”
James J. Culleton, the lawyer for Detective Oliver, said the indictment “was not
unexpected — a grand jury presentation is one-sided,”
"I firmly believe that he will be found not guilty," he said of Detective
Oliver, 35, who, with Detective Isnora, 28, were considered the most vulnerable
to criminal charges. Detective Oliver fired far and away the most bullets,
emptying one magazine, reloading and emptying a second, and Detective Isnora
opened fire first, touching off the 50-shot barrage. Detective Isnora fired 11
shots, emptying his gun.
Michael J. Palladino, the president of the Detectives Endowment Association,
confirmed the indictments but said he did not know the charges and would not
know them until Monday, when they were unsealed.
“I know the grand jury worked very long and very hard on this particular case,”
Mr. Palladino said at a late-afternoon press conference, surrounded by officials
of his association. “I respect their decision. However I firmly disagree with
the decision to indict these officers.”
Mr. Palladino predicted that the jury’s vote would have a chilling effect on
police officers in the city and nationwide.
“The message that’s being sent now is that even though you’re acting in good
faith, in pursuit of your lawful duties, there is no room, no margin for error,”
Stephen C. Worth, a lawyer for Officer Michael Carey, described the moment he
learned his client had not been indicted:
Mr. Worth said he got a call from Charles Testagrossa, the prosecutor who
presented evidence to the grand jury, who “told me there was no true bill as to
“Obviously,” he said, ”we are gratified by the grand jury’s decision as to Mike,
and I have always believed that he acted professionally on the night of this
Police Department procedures call for the suspension of officers who are charged
with a crime, and the three detectives will be ordered to surrender their
shields; all five officers are already on paid leave without their weapons.
Those who are suspended will be unpaid.
If indictments of police officers are unusual, convictions are even more so.
Many saw a jury’s decision to acquit the officers who opened fire on Mr. Diallo
after a two-month trial as a firm rejection of the powerful charges against
them. In recent years in New York City, Bryan Conroy, a police officer who shot
a peddler in a Chelsea warehouse had faced second-degree manslaughter charges,
but was convicted of the lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide by a
judge, who sentenced him to probation.
The detectives indicted in the Bell case were in a larger group seeking
prostitution arrests outside the Club Kalua, a topless bar in Jamaica that had
been plagued by narcotics and prostitution activity, under-age drinking and
Detective Isnora had trailed Mr. Bell’s party, which was broken into two groups
of four men, believing that Joseph Guzman, one of Mr. Bell’s companions, had a
gun and was about to use it, according to a person familiar with the detective’s
The detective approached Mr. Bell’s car. But Mr. Bell drove forward, clipping
him, and then hit a police minivan, backed up, nearly hitting the detective
again and slammed into the minivan a second time, the police have said.
Detective Isnora, with his shield around his neck, said he opened fire,
according to the person familiar with his account. This led to the fusillade of
shots, with some of the officers apparently believing that their colleagues’
muzzle flashes were those of assailants.
Mr. Bell was killed as he sat in the driver’s seat. Trent Benefield, 23, who was
in the passenger seat, was struck three times, in the leg and buttock, and Mr.
Guzman, 31, who was in a back seat, had at least 11 bullet wounds along his
right side, from his neck to his feet.
Like the officers, the wounded men told their stories before the grand jury.
Protests that followed the shooting were mostly peaceful. Mayor Michael R.
Bloomberg convened a meeting of black religious leaders and elected officials at
City Hall. He emerged from it calling the circumstances “inexplicable” and
“unacceptable,” and said, “It sounds to me like excessive force was used.”
Mr. Bloomberg’s quick reaction was viewed as a salve to the situation and a
turnabout from the approach of his predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who did not
reach out to black leaders in the immediate aftermath of the fatal shooting of
The panel of grand jurors began its work on Jan. 22 and met as often as three
times a week in an auditorium-style room in an office building in Kew Gardens.
The officers testified in the reverse order of the number of rounds they fired:
Detective Headley and Officer Carey testified on March 5; Detectives Cooper and
Isnora, testified on March 7; and Friday last week, Detective Oliver testified
in the zenith of the process.
Deliberations seemed to move slowly and in fits and starts. After Mr.
Testagrossa read the charge — the instructions on the law that the panel had to
consider as it weighed the evidence — the panelists were left alone to
Reporting was contributed by Cara Buckley,
Diane Cardwell, Jim Dwyer,
Fernandez, Colin Moynihan
and William K. Rashbaum.
50-Shot Barrage Leads to
Charges for 3 Detectives,
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