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Transparency: Father of man fatally shot by police proud of new law

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Just last week, Gov. Scott Walker signed Wisconsin Assembly Bill 409 into law. The bill requires that an outside agency investigate officer-involved deaths. It's already being done, after Wednesday's officer-involved shooting in downtown Milwaukee.

A Milwaukee police officer shot and killed a 31-year-old man following a struggle in Red Arrow Park in Wednesday, April 30th. Police Chief Ed Flynn says the man took the officer's baton, and began beating him with it -- before the officer opened fire.

The 31-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Michael Bell has been the leading proponent of the legislation that is now law. His son was shot and killed by Kenosha police in 2004.

Bell says he found out about the shooting in downtown Milwaukee Wednesday when he saw it on TV.

"We've been following it very closely. My initial gut feeling was like 'wow! This is doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing,'" Bell said.

Bell championed the legislation for nearly 10 years, before it was eventually passed and signed into law on April 23rd.

"For me personally, I've been bathing in the afterglow of the Governor signing the bill," Bell said.

The new law requires an outside agency investigate when a person dies while in police custody.

"As long as they're following the guidelines they're trained with, certainly those independent reviews will uphold their actions," Gov. Scott Walker said.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn in a news conference Thursday said a number of agencies, including the state's Division of Criminal Investigation, or DCI are investigating Wednesday's shooting.

"We're not threatened by having DCI helping in this investigation. No concerns with them being at the scene. These investigations are joint. They will produce their report and we'll produce ours," Chief Flynn said.

Dana Brueck with the Office of the Attorney General issued a statement on DCI's role.

"As an 'exist to assist' agency, the Department of Justice routinely responds at the request of local law enforcement across Wisconsin to assist with investigations of officer-involved deaths and other matters," Brueck said.

"Chief Flynn has the opportunity to show to the city of Milwaukee that this is upfront and this is being done in the most appropriate fashion possible," Bell said.

Bell says the law is intended to provide transparency. He says he'll be following this case to see how it turns out, and to see how effective the new law is.




  • b dub

    I really hope this law makes a difference the mpd gets away with far to much bs whatever they do is always deemed justified.

  • PMT

    The man was sleeping and had been talked to by police prior to this encounter. When this officer approached, the man possibly felt harrassed and threatened. This patting down was not needed or legal since there was no crime committed. That will be ingored.

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