Push to shine more light on officer-involved deaths comes to Kansas

Michael Bell Jr
Michael Bell Jr

source: Flatland News
published: 14 January 2020

In the early morning hours of Nov. 9, 2004, a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer had just completed a traffic stop when a truck approached a nearby stop sign — and then gunned it. The officer followed to pull over the driver.

The ultimate outcome of the stop was that police shot and killed the driver, 21-year-old Michael Bell Jr.

The police department declared the shooting justified just two days after the incident — a conclusion the family has never accepted — even after settling a wrongful death case against the city for $1.75 million. Michael Bell Sr. has failed to get the investigation reopened, pressing his case yet again late last year.

But the father did score an unlikely legislative victory six years ago, and that success has reverberated hundreds of miles away in Topeka, Kansas, as the Legislature reconvened Monday.

State Rep. David Benson, an Overland Park Democrat, has used Wisconsin as a model for proposed legislation aimed at injecting more objectivity and transparency into cases of an officer-involved death, including in traffic-related fatalities. The January 2018 shooting of 17-year-old John Albers by an Overland Park police officer spurred the legislation.

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At MichaelBell.info, the facts, video and forensics regarding Michael’s death can be found. The Facebook page is not against law enforcement, but points out that a system without checks and balance, is a system ripe for abuse. For more information visit Facebook group >