Daily News
Back to scene of Sean Bell tragedy

BY NICOLE BODE and CORKY SIEMASZKO
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

Tuesday, April 29th 2008, 1:33 AM

Rep. John Conyers (c.), chairman of House Judiciary Committee, gets tour of Bell shooting site from Joseph Guzman (l.). DelMundo for News

Rep. John Conyers (c.), chairman of House Judiciary Committee, gets tour of Bell shooting site from Joseph Guzman (l.).

Shooting survivors Trent Benefield (l.) and Guzman help point way Monday outside Kalua Cabaret. DelMundo for News

Shooting survivors Trent Benefield (l.) and Guzman help point way Monday outside Kalua Cabaret.

Sean Bell's wounded buddy on Monday gave a powerful Michigan congressman a guided tour of a New York tragedy.

Three days after a trio of detectives were cleared of killing the young bridegroom in a 50-bullet barrage, Joseph Guzman led Rep. John Conyers through the pouring rain from the Kalua Cabaret - the Queens strip club where Bell had held his bachelor party - to the spot where he died.

"We walked down the corner here, we turned the corner," Guzman, who was shot 16 times and leaned heavily on his cane as he walked, told Conyers.

They stopped when they got to the spot on Liverpool St. in Jamaica where Bell was killed - and where dozens of bouquets and candles lay soaking in the rain.

With them were Bell's fiancée, Nicole Paultre Bell, his parents and Trent Benefield, the other survivor of the Nov. 25, 2006, shooting.

"We want to make sure justice is served, and we send a message not just to law enforcement but to young people that these types of tragedies have to end in this country," Conyers told them earlier.

What Conyers, a Democrat and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told them as they huddled under umbrellas was out of the earshot of reporters.

As Conyers turned to go, Ken Frydman, a spokesman for the Detectives' Endowment Association, approached him and said, "I'd like to respectfully request a meeting with the chairman on behalf of the [association]."

"If you are who you say you are, I accept," replied Conyers, who had been asked by the Rev. Al Sharpton to visit the shooting scene.

Sharpton is trying to pressure federal prosecutors into trying the detectives for violating Sean Bell's civil rights.

The African-American community is still seething after Detectives Marc Cooper, Michael Oliver and Gescard Isnora were acquitted Friday.

Cooper apologized for the shooting after the verdict; the other two haven't. All still face departmental hearings and civil suits and remain on modified duty, deprived of their guns.

In her first television interview since the verdict, Nicole Paultre Bell told Dominic Carter on New York 1's "Inside City Hall" that she accepted Cooper's apology.

"He looked like he was sorry for what happened," she said.

Benefield also accepted the apology, but Guzman shook his head and suggested "you should get him in here to find out what really happened." Oliver, who fired 31 of the shots, is riding a desk at the Manhattan Detective Borough. Cooper is doing clerical work at Detective Borough Bronx, and Isnora is performing similar duties at Detective Borough Brooklyn.

Bell, a 23-year-old father of two, was killed on his wedding day. While legal experts said it's unlikely the feds would intervene, Sharpton and the Bell family aren't giving up.

"We're the shot, not the shooters," Sharpton said.

Earlier, former New York Civil Liberties Union head Norman Siegel and members of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, an advocacy group for black cops, proposed a permanent state special prosecutor with the power to investigate allegations of police brutality and corruption.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said there was no need for a special prosecutor. Many in the African-American community believe prosecutors made a halfhearted attempt to convict the cops.

nbode@nydailynews.com

With Wil Cruz, Joe Gould and Alison Gendar