source: Journal Sentinel
published: 23 April 2014
For nearly 10 years, Michael Bell has waged a campaign for greater accountability when police use lethal force.
He has spent more than $1 million on billboards, newspaper advertisements and a website, all of them asking some variation of this question: When police kill, should they judge themselves?
Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday answered with a resounding “no,” signing into law a bill that requires outside investigation when people die in police custody — the first of its kind in the nation. Bell, along with more than two dozen family members and supporters, attended the private signing ceremony in the governor’s office.
Bell carried a picture of his namesake son, who was 21 when Kenosha police fatally shot him in front of his mother, Kim, and sister, Shantae, in 2004.
“That was the catalyst that started everything,” Bell said of his son’s death. “I just think he knows that even though we couldn’t be there to have defended him that night, this is a big deal, and he knows that we’ve made a tremendous amount of sacrifices, because we just loved the kid.”
The officers who killed Bell were quickly cleared of wrongdoing after an internal investigation by officers within their own department.