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The Police Murder of Michael Bell
Another Eric Garner Wrongful Death by Police
Most of the police across the nation are good. They go through a lot of training and get paid very well for it. But, like anything, a few bad apples in the mix ruins it for all of the other great police officers out there. This is what the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases have done. Eric was killed resulting from a choke hold by a police officer using a procedure no longer allowed by the department. The grand jury in that accidental killing did not indict the officer for anything! This is just wrong. In the Michael Brown killing, some feel the officer killed the teen, although unarmed, had committed a theft and did resist arrest, shot and killed him. The grand jury found him not guilty of anything. Unlike the Garner case, the Brown case, there was some validity of the officer's actions despite how you argue the case. Many feel the officer should have just wounded him instead of shooting to kill. I agree.
Buried in time are many cases where police used excessive force or killed citizens they were to protect. This brings us to the murder of Michael Bell in 2004, a white college student. He was targeted by a group of officers in Wisconsin a day before he was to testify in court against them for a previous incident. Michael Bell was shot in the head after being stopped near his residence. The police video shows a cop walking to the car as the victim was getting out. The officer simply grabs (as Bell shows being dumbfounded for the stop) him and drags him outside of the camera range of the dash cam. You can hear muffled police shouting.
Despite forensic evidence presented at the grand jury inquiry, the police officers were not held accountable for the murder. Forensics showed the killing was execution style at near point blank range while Bell was held down. Unbelievable. There seems little doubt that Bell was killed under a pretext stop to silence him or threaten him because of the testimony he was to give the next day! Yet, the grand jury seemed to think this was improbable. The police state that Bell resisted arrest and was trying to grab the officer's gun in is holster. One officer was convinced Bell had it. But, evidence showed that Bell's DNA was not found on the gun or holster, but the car's mirror was damaged by the handle of the gun as the police manhandled Bell. The car's mirror was torn from the car and left dangling. Even if the there was a mistaken belief by police that Bell had reached for the gun (when it hung up on the mirror) that was no reason to shoot him in the head a day before he was to testify against them, unless, another motive for the questionable traffic stop (also proven to be bogus) was present in the mind of officer Gonzales when he executed Bell. Gonzales easily could have shot Bell in the leg. That would have ended ANY chance Bell would resist further (the question about his resistance was also shown to be grossly exaggerated).
Yet, the police department conducted their own internal investigation and found no wrongdoing. Gonzales continued working and retired in 2012 or so.
Michael's father, a retired Lt. Col, was outraged by this injustice at hands of police and has continued to push for a new law, AB 409, that would prohibit police departments from conducting their own investigation on police violations and force a special prosecutor from the outside with no affiliation with the local DA or police department, to conduct the internal investigation of police officers on suspected cases in Wisconsin.
AB 409 was passed and a new state law went into effect in April, 2014. If there is any change resulting from the Garner and Brown cases, there should be a similar federal law across America preventing self investigating of police wrongs and making the grand jury system more transparent than it is now.