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Some nights, sitting in one of the noisy, smoky Irish bars along Bainbridge Avenue in the Bronx, you'd think you're in a pub in Derry, Northern Ireland, somewhere between Bogside and Creggan, instead of the Bronx Zoo and Van Cortlandt Park. Martyred I.R.A. guerrillas stare somberly from dusty frames on the wall. Old Paddies with wrinkled faces deal cards on a wooden board pulled over the pool tables. Rebel songs blare from the jukebox. This is not George Steinbrenner's Bronx, or Al Sharpton's. This is Bainbridge, one of the city's biggest Celtic portals, the last stop on the D line, the first stop after Derry or Belfast.
When an IRA guerrilla turned up dead in a Bainbridge apartment with a gunshot wound to the head, the initial word on the street was suicide. But now one of the NYPD's most decorated officers has been charged with the murder, and this week, he goes on trial.