Three weeks after being fired by the NYPD for his part in the 2006 shooting death of Sean Bell– losing his pension and healthcare benefits–and after years of virtual silence, former detective Gescard Isnora is talking to the press.
“I’m not looking back, no apologies, no regrets,” he told NBC New York in an exclusive interview. “I came to grips with what I did. I am able to sleep at night. I am here talking to you.”
Isnora and three other undercover cops fired 50 shots at Bell and his three friends who were leaving Bell’s party the night of November 16th. The groom-to-be died of his wounds. It was the night before his wedding.
Isnora maintains he heard one of Bells’s friend, Joseph Guzman, say “Go get my gun,” after the party, he was involved in an altercation with another man, Fabio Coicou. Isnora said he believed the men were going to their vehicle to retrieve a gun.
After the driver of the car rammed itself into a police van, Isnora thought he saw Guzman reach for a gun and began to fire.
In fact, all of the men were unarmed.
As in the Trayvon Martin tragedy, the shooting grabbed headlines across the country, with protesters saying cops were too quick to use deadly force on an unarmed Black man.
“I was fed to the wolves if, you know, you wanna use that,” Isnora told NBC of his firing. “That’s exactly what the Commissioner and the Mayor did.”
Isanora and the three other detectives involved in the shooting were cleared of criminal charges in 2008 before being officially fired or forced to resign last month.
A lawyer for Isnora slammed the NYPD’s decision to fire his client as “arbitrary and capricious.” And Mike Palladino of the Detectives’ Endowment Association also defendedIsnora, saying, “The decision is demoralizing and it’s unsettling for all members of the NYPD. The message is that you could be in a life-or-death situation, act within the law, be justified by the courts and still lose everything – your livelihood as well as your retirement.”
Isnora is planning legal action against the NYPD in order to get his job back.