Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in on the uproar over a deadly police shooting, saying bluntly on Monday that officers appeared to use excessive force when they fired 50 shots at an unarmed man in a confrontation outside a strip club hours before his wedding.
"I can tell you that it is to me unacceptable or inexplicable how you can have 50-odd shots fired, but that's up to the investigation to find out what really happened," Bloomberg said at a news conference after meeting with elected officials and community leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton.
The groom, Sean Bell, 23, was killed and two of his friends wounded early Saturday in their car after a bachelor party at the strip club. Suspecting that one of the men had a gun, police fired 50 rounds into the vehicle. The men were unarmed.
Bell's fiancee, Nicole Paultre, on Monday made her first public comments since the shooting.
"They were murderers, murderers," she told hip-hop station Power 105.1, referring to the officers. "They were not officers. No one gives anyone the right to kill somebody."
Some have questioned whether the shooting was racially motivated because the victims were all black men. Two blacks, two whites and one Hispanic composed the group of five officers who fired their guns.
Bloomberg said he did not think the shooting was racially motivated. Of the victims, Bloomberg said Monday: "There is no evidence that they were doing anything wrong," referring to everything leading up to the moment when they hit an undercover officer with their car.