Wisconsin Man Runs $65K Ad Over Son's 2004 Death

Michael Bell took out the Washington Post ad Tuesday
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2018 12:10 PM CST

There is no limit to this father's quest for justice: Michael Bell spent $64,259 to run a full-page age in Tuesday's Washington Post calling for his son's Nov. 9, 2004 death to be reinvestigated. The Wisconsin 21-year-old died at the hands of a Kenosha police officer in a killing that was deemed a "justifiable homicide" just days after it occurred. But Bell sees too many holes. CBS News reports a "drunk and uncooperative" Michael Bell Jr. got in an altercation with cops after having driven home to the house he shared with his mother and sister. Officer Erich Strausbaugh was heard yelling, "He has my gun." A second officer, Alberto Gonzalez, then shot Bell Jr. in the head as the young man's family watched from 10 feet away, reports the Kenosha News.

But the elder Bell says the officers' stories don't jibe with witness statements, and he believes Gonzalez shot his son on the right, not the left—the latter being a position from which he wouldn't be able to see if his son had a gun. According to the private investigator Bell hired, Bell Jr. didn't have the gun (his mother and sister say they tried to alert police that he didn't): Their working theory is that Strausbaugh's gun holster got caught by the car mirror, and he mistakenly thought the pull he felt was Bell Jr. reaching for his gun. Kenosha settled the family's suit against the police department for the "unlawful use of deadly force" for $1.75 million in 2010, but Bell wants a new look at the case. The Journal Sentinel reports Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel is sympathetic but says too much time has passed to do anything from a legal perspective. (More police shooting stories.)

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