It’s a true travesty of justice that the cops who killed Sean Bell and wounded his friends, on the night before his wedding day, were exonerated-though it’s not an unexpected verdict. The defense lawyers chose to go with a Judge instead of a jury, which probably saved the detectives from going to jail. A jury of 12 people, regardless of race, would have found them guilty of SOMETHING!
I’m sure the judge was aware that sending back a guilty verdict would have a ripple effect in how police do their job and would have lowered the threshold for proving criminality in police actions that kill or injure innocent people in the line of duty. Had the judge returned a guilty verdict, his decision may have set some sort of precedent and been referenced in future cases. Being the judge whose decision sets a precedent that sends cops to jail for performing their duty is not an easy cross to bear for a judge.
A jury would not have gave a shit about a precedent and would have found the cops guilty of SOMETHING!