updated 3/25/2007 7:29:10 PM ET 2007-03-25T23:29:10

Two New York City police detectives pleaded not guilty last week to charges of manslaughter in the death of Sean Bell, the unarmed 23-year-old bridegroom on his wedding day who died in a burst of police bullets. A third detective pleaded not guilty to lesser charges.

Below are various reactions to the indictments:

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg:
“The only reaction you can have is that this is a tragedy for everyone concerned. Clearly it’s a tragedy for the Sean Bell family – the two children – for Mr. Guzman and Benefield and Nicole. But its also a tragedy for the police officers and their families. They didn’t set out that night to be involved in a death of an innocent man. They went out to do a good job, and we’ll have to see what happens in the trial. Justice will be served,whatever that is.”

Michael Palladino, the head of the Detectives Endowment Association, at a news conference: “I firmly disagree with the decision to indict these officers. I do not think the actions of these officers rise to the level of criminality The message being sent by the indictment (will have) a chilling effect on New York police officers and law enforcement all around the nation. In an effort to defend themselves and other people in the area they find themselves to be criminally charged.”

Rev. Al Sharpton:
“The only way you make sure it doesn’t happen again is you stop it, and you punish it and you send a signal that we live in a society where laws have to be respected. So there is no joy, no vengeance, no party here.”

New York Post editorial:
“The fact is, sometimes police officers must fire their guns. And when that happens, the consequences can be tragic. But criminalizing tragic outcomes serves only to embolden criminals and to hamstring the police.”

Newsday editorial:
“[T]he indictment of three New York City detectives in the death of bridegroom Sean Bell outside a Queens strip club won’t satisfy the extremists on either side. What it will do is give the public the opportunity to hear what happened and why…
Some people, many of them black, will be disappointed that all five cops on the scene that night weren’t charged, and that the charge isn’t murder. That view is fed by frustration and a history of racial injustice.….Other people will be aghast that any of the detectives in the Bell shooting were charged at all. The view from that side of the divide is that police work is dangerous [and shouldn’t be second-guessed]… There’s truth on both sides of that argument. But a uniform and a badge can’t be a shield against accountability.”

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