Jason Mitchell is set to star in Sean Bell biopic as Bell, a 23-year-old man who was shot by police the night before his wedding.
The incident occurred on November 25, 2006. Bell was having his bachelor party at a strip club in Queens, New York. At the same time, the police were undercover investigating the place over accusations that the owners fostered prostitution. Sometime during the night, Bell’s friend Joseph Guzman got into an argument outside the club. According to a plainclothes officer named, Gescard Isnora, he overheard Guzman threaten to bring a gun out. So Isnora followed Bell and his friends and called for backup. When the backup team arrived, they confronted Bell and his friends.
READ: Jill Scott to Portray Mahalia Jackson in Mahalia Biopic — Queen Latifah, Jamie Foxx to Executive Produce
That confrontation led to Bell, Guzman, and Trent Benefield to be shot 50 times by New York City police (NYPD) in both plainclothes and undercover. Bell was killed the morning before his wedding, and two of his friends, Benefield and Guzman, were severely wounded. None of the men were armed.
The incident sparked fierce criticism of the New York City Police Department from members of the public and drew comparisons to the 1999 killing of Amadou Diallo. Three of the five detectives involved in the shooting went to trial on charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter, first- and second-degree assault, and second-degree reckless endangerment. They were all found not guilty.
Four years later, the city settled with Bell’s family for $7 million.
READ: Zoe Saldana Apologizes For Nina Simone Biopic: ‘I Should Have Never Played Nina’
Jason will be an executive producer along with Tru of TruVision Films, as was first reported by Urban Hollywood 411. Jason initially read for the part of one of the undercover cops. But, as he read the script he immediately asked to instead play Sean’s role because he wanted to help tell his story. Tru was all for it.
The movie has been in works for three years and will film in Queens, NY. This Sean Bell biopic is one of many projects centered around his death, however, this is one project Bell’s family is very involved in. Mitchell and Bell’s father have spoken almost every day since Mitchell joined the cast.
Prior to this Mitchell portrayed Eazy-E in Straight Outta Compton.