Michael Bell, whose son was shot, killed by officer, comments on unrest in Ferguson, MO

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KENOSHA (WITI) -- After working to pass a bill aimed at assuring independent investigations into police-involved deaths, Michael Bell Sr. is now getting national attention. His efforts in Wisconsin are now under a larger spotlight following the controversial shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Bell's oldest son, Michael Jr., was shot and killed by a Kenosha police officer in 2004. While the police department cleared its officers of any wrongdoing, Bell eventually settled with the city for $1.75 million and used much of that money on a billboard campaign that called for new legislation that mandates independent investigations into officer-involved deaths.

Bell's efforts paid off in April when Governor Scott Walker signed into law a bill that requires an outside agency to lead the investigation into police-involved deaths. Because of Bell's efforts, he's followed the events in Ferguson closely. Bell was asked this week to write an article about his experience for POLITICO. That article has been shared more than 100,000 times on social media. He says he's also been scheduled to appear later this week on CNN and MSNBC. Bell says he's saddened to see mass protestsĀ have occasionally turned violent in Ferguson but says he understands why.

"Do I agree with (the violence)? No," Bell said. "But I don`t think they have any other mechanism to express themselves and nobody else is listening."

Bell says the new Wisconsin legislation is especially important given the unrest in Ferguson and the equipment police are using there for crowd control.

"As the police department and law enforcement become more militarized, we have to make sure they`re more transparent and there are greater restraints being placed," Bell said.

Bell says he'd like to eventually see additions to the Wisconsin legislation. Mainly, he wants immediate blood draws from officers when they use deadly force. He's also concerned that district attorneys still have the final say in whether an officer is charged; Bell says it could be a conflict of interest since those district attorneys work closely with the police departments in their respective counties.

"It`s not enough," Bell said, "We need more, but it`s a start in the right direction."

21 comments

  • dp

    You obviously haven’t read full story. His son was handcuffed. The officer then put a gun to his son’s head then fired.

    • opinin8d

      You obviously don’t know anything further than what you ‘read’. Watch the dash cam video. He gets out of his car, and disobeys the police officer’s direction to get back in his car. Puts his hands in his coat pockets. It’s 2am and the cop probably hasn’t even had a change to idenitfy the driver since he got out of his vehicle right away. He continues to disobey the officer and fights with him, telling the office ‘he knows his rights’. More cops come and he continues to fight.

      It’s very tragic what happened, but it could have been easy avoided had he simply listened.

  • Paul

    It’s sad to hear American citizens agree that killing an unarmed man with his hands cuffed is acceptable. When it becomes your son or nephew you will sing a different song.

    • opinin8d

      I sad to see their is such little respect for law and order. Whether is teachers, cops, judges, etc, the decay of being a law and order society has lasting ramifications. It’s not like they cuffed him and executed him. I teach my kids to have respect for authority so they wouldn’t be in a situation like this.

    • grunt

      Paul, I would expect that the officer would have been criminally charged if the killing wasn’t justified.
      I’ll bet the police come into contact with people every day without killing them. Why was Bell killed?

      • Bryan

        Grunt, The whole issue Bell is raising is that it’s hard to criminally charge officers when the police dept that did the shooting is also the organization in charge of the investigation. They tend to protect their own. One of the pieces of evidence that led to new laws regarding this in Wisconsin was that no police department in the state had EVER found that deadly force was unjustified in a followup investigation.

        Bell Jr. was killed because an office thought his gun was being grabbed. It later turned out that his gun holster had been caught on a car window. Bell Sr. won the civil suit against the police dept on the strength of the evidence collected by private investigators – but for the officer to be charged would have required evidence collected by the police dept he works for.

      • jerry person

        I quess you watch fox news hey refuse to show the facts in Ferguson because Koch`s truth in sentencing has caused ALL these problems and has made3 cops murderers. your comment saying the cops were not charged so they are innocent is a sick sick perverted comment./ This shows your ignorant past ignorance. The cops killed BELL gangland type execution. if you justify this must be another GOP. Like the ones who think walkers john doe was a witch hunt it convicted walkers best pals of child enticement.. I understand drunks condone drinking druggies condone driigs and you condone murderer by cop officer. I bet you think the john doe was a witch hunt because it is all you know. enticemwent murder and lying for a living OFFICER

  • Paul

    If police are that scared of their jobs I suggest they find employment elsewhere. Even in the military soldiers were told do not fire in less you are being fired upon. Why do we give Iraq’s and Afghanistan population the benefit of the doubt but not are own American citizens. Just because someone might do something is not a justification for deadly force.

    • opinin8d

      Well Paul, it’s nice to ignore the real issue here. It’s not about the cops being scared, it about life and death. Your analogy is apples and oranges. If an enemy is fighting (hand to hand) with a soldier, you can bet he is going to do whatever is necessary stop the threat. You make it sound like the cops just opened fire on this guy for no reason. How long would you like the police to wait to be sure the person means them harm?? After they shoot the cop? Would you simply prefer a state of anarchy where no one has to obey the police? Or do you prefer just to judge in hindsight? What would you tell a murdered cops family???? Yeah, he probably should of shot the suspect instead of waiting….???

  • Mommakare

    I have often wondered where Michael Bell Jr.’ mother is. Bell Sr. has his face on camera every chance he can get, but it takes two to create a child so did he split his reward with her?

    • Perry

      He spent the money getting the Law changed in Wisconsin to investigate the police who shot unarmed people. Stupid comment.

    • Bradford

      I don’t blame her for not being on camera. She witnessed her son get executed while in custody.

      A little traumatic, wouldn’t you say?

  • Perry

    So getting out of the car, and not listening to the police officer justifies being shot in the head while in hand cuffs. Appears that the threat is over and a charge of “Resisting Arrest” is appropriate. The law is changed now in Wisconsin now.. OPININBD you watch too much of the show “COPS”

    • opinin8d

      Appears the threat is over??? Really? I forgot, he was simply cooperating with police when they executed him! They struggled the whole time with guy and if the office thought he was going for his gun, that’s a very big concern. Again, had he not resisted and fought back but simply listened, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. And the law change is meaningless to someone’s life -it won’t bring someone back -just more transparency to the public. Money would be better spent on encouraging people to respect the law and save the arguing to the courts.

  • jerry person

    bell knows his law helped cops justify murder and execution by cops. bell was bought off. his law has hurt millions of honest Americans. He is now a killer too

    • Dave Krueger

      I was one of the officers directly involved in the Michael Bell shooting. To set the record straight, Michael Bell was never in handcuffs and fought violently with two officers, as they strugged to take him into custody for numerous violations. He was currently out of jail on bond and one of the conditons of his bond was to not drink and drive, which is exactly what he was caught doing that evening. Yes, he was shot at close range as he was attempting to disarm one of the exhausted officers. He made terrible decisions that evening that ultimately cost him his life.

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