Sharpton guilty in raucous Bell protest

Oct. 8, 2008 at 8:33 PM

NEW YORK, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- The Rev. Al Sharpton was convicted of disorderly conduct Wednesday for his role in protests following acquittals in the police shooting of an unarmed black man.

Sharpton and seven others were each sentenced to time served and ordered to pay a $95 surcharge by a New York judge, MNBC-TV reported. In Sharpton's case, time served amounted to 5 1/2 hours.

The protesters had snarled traffic by clogging intersections, bridges and tunnels to express their anger over the death of Sean Bell, who was shot outside a strip club hours before his wedding. Two of his friends were seriously wounded.

Criminal Court Judge Larry Stephen said he was "of course sympathetic to the underlying issues which gave rise to the protests and demonstrations" but admonished them for breaking the law.

"If you decide to take a bullet for the team, you should not complain about the consequences that flow from that," the judge said.

About 250 people were arrested last spring after three police officers charged in Bell's death were acquitted.

"I would hope the city thinks about how the pedestrians who couldn't walk and the drivers who couldn't drive were no different than the young men who sat in the car that night and were shot at," Sharpton told the judge.

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