New York Daily News

Testing cops only right - Bell fiancee


June 20, 2007—The fiancee of an unarmed man killed in a hail of 50 police bullets said yesterday a plan to give drunk tests to any cop who shoots someone is "a step in the right direction."

"I'll never know, no one will ever know if the person, the people who did this, were intoxicated. And that is the reason why this should be done," Nicole Paultre-Bell said.

Bell's fiancé, Sean Bell, 23, was fatally shot on his wedding day last November after undercover cops targeted a Queens strip club in a prostitution sting.

After the Bell shooting, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly ordered top brass to review the department's undercover operations.

Kelly endorsed the panel's 19 recommendations, including the most controversial: giving Breathalyzer tests to all cops, on or off-duty, undercover or uniformed, after they shoot or kill someone.

"This is the right thing to do," Paultre-Bell said. "At any other job, if there's an accident or an injury the person responsible is given a Breathalyzer exam, so it should be the same. No one should be above the law."

One of the undercover officers - one who did not fire a shot - acknowledged drinking two beers while working the undercover operation, as allowed by NYPD policy. Bell's toxicology reports showed he was drunk when his car struck an undercover officer.

Kelly said there was no evidence alcohol played a role in Bell's death, but the measure would help safeguard the public and officers.

Union leaders said the plan violated officers' rights and was something that should be negotiated in collective bargaining.

"Unnecessary and excessive," said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. "The PBA will not allow management to cast doubt on every shooting by subjecting a police officer to a test for which there is no cause or justification."

With Chrisena Coleman