Bell trial hangs on ‘cop id’ – QNS.com

Bell trial hangs on ‘cop id’

Taking the stand on Monday, March 31, Trent Benefield, one of the two men injured the night Sean Bell was killed, seemed to contradict what he had earlier told officials.
During testimony, Benefield - who has a $50 million lawsuit pending against the city and who admitted that the Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network has paid him $10,000 in installments since the incident - was grilled by defense attorneys about his state of mind the night of the shooting.
Medical records show that his blood alcohol level was .11 - over the .08 legal limit - and that he admitted to doctors following the incident that he smoked marijuana daily for six years.
However, on the stand, Benefield claimed to not remember admitting to his habit, and said he drank four Long Island iced teas at the party - contrary to what he told cops that night, that he drank Hennessy (cognac).
When questioned about the inconsistencies, Benefield, 24, who was shot three times, said that he lied to the NYPD.
“One of the critical points in this trial will be the credibility of the witnesses that testify,” Michael Palladino, President of the Detectives’ Endowment Association (DEA) and Vice President of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), told The Queens Courier at the outset of the trial.
It seems a linchpin of the proceedings is whether the undercover detectives identified themselves as officers prior to the 50-bullet barrage.
Benefield said that he did not see any police badges displayed.
He also denied that the other man injured in the fracas, Joseph Guzman, had been reaching for a gun at the time of the shooting, something the other victim - shot 16 times - corroborated when he took the stand on Tuesday, April 1.
Guzman, a father of two with two stints in jail, also testified that there was no indication that the men firing were undercover detectives.
Like Benefield, his time on the stand was fraught with inconsistencies, one of which were Bell’s alleged last words of “I love you too.”
Doctors had told the court that a bullet pierced Bell’s vocal chords, and that he was unable to speak in the moments before his death.
Both Detectives Gescard Isnora and Michael Oliver, who face up to 25 years in prison, have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges. Detective Marc Cooper, who may face a year in jail if convicted, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of reckless endangerment.

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