On Friday, a jury in the wrongful death trial for the death of 25-year-old Ortanzso Bovell awarded $2.5 million to Bovell’s mother.
The verdict against the city and Brooklyn NYPD Inspector John Chell was announced after a five-week long trial, in which the jury determined that Chell “intentionally discharged” his firearm at Bovell during the incident on Aug. 7, 2008.
According to Chell, Bovell was found by Chell and his team breaking into a Mustang and tried to speed off when confronted, sideswiping Chell in the process. Chell then claimed that he fell and that his weapon discharged in the fall, a claim that was supported by witnesses but that the jury simply didn’t seem to believe.
“He maintained that he started to fall and the gun went off,” said Jon Norinsberg, the attorney for Bovell’s mother Lorna Wright-Bovell. “But we proved that the ballistics contradicted this — that the shooting had to be done by someone firing from a standing position.”
As for Wright-Bovell, the jury’s decision, she said, has given her some kind of closure.
“I’m not saying my son didn’t do anything wrong — but they could have arrested him,” she said. “Don’t kill him.” She added that she “completely forgave” Chell for his actions.