13 years later: Documentary gives father of man shot by Kenosha police new hope
Michael Bell Jr.
KENOSHA -- On the anniversary of his son's death, Michael Bell said he hopes a new documentary will get the case reopened.
There is no dispute that 13 years ago Thursday, November 9th, Michael Bell Jr. was pulled over and resisted officers. There is no question the struggle ended with Bell shot once in the head. Bell Sr. now says the new documentary, Forensically Impossible: Anatomy of a Police Cover-Up, will make people reconsider the following questions: Did the officer have good reason to shoot? And did they tell the whole truth?
Michael Bell Jr.
After 13 years, the car Michael Bell Jr. was up against at the time of death still has not been moved. Some air has come out of the tires, but Michael Bell Sr. said he is filled with new hope because of the documentary.
Michael Bell Sr.
"I strongly believe the Kenosha Police Department and its administration covered up this case and the public's going to know about it through the documentary," Bell said.
The film focuses on the days after the shooting. The police account is that one of the officers felt something tugging on his holster. Fearing it was Bell grabbing for his partner's gun, Officer Albert Gonzales shot Bell in the head.
Private investigators hired by Bell to review the case, including a former KPD detective, reached the conclusion that Officer Erich Strausbaugh's gun got hooked on the driver's side mirror. Strausbaugh committed suicide in 2010.
The autopsy shows Bell was shot in the right side of the head. The documentary claims officers were caught in a lie.
"Officer Gonzales had his gun pressed against the left side of Michael Bell's head when he shot him?" (A question asked in the documentary.)
Lt. David Krueger: "Yes."
The Kenosha Police Department handled the case and cleared everyone involved.
Police later amended their version to say Gonzales was on Bell's left side but when Bell turned his head, Gonzales' gun was up to the right side of Bell's head. The documentary cites a note from the medical examiner that determined such an event was "forensically impossible" because of where the blood was pooled and where the shell casing landed.
Kenosha Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Bell succeeded three years ago in lobbying for a law that requires independent investigations of officer-involved deaths. He now wants the state to reopen his son's case.
"For the first time in 13 years, the attorney general finally met with me," Bell said.
A spokesman for Attorney General Brad Schimel said Thursday:
"We have no comment on private conversations that the attorney general has with his constituents nor with any investigative steps that DOJ may or may not have take in any case."
Bell's parents said no matter the legal outcome, there will be a new verdict.
"They're going to be judged by the nation, by the public, by the nation," Bell said.
The current Kenosha County District Attorney, Mike Graveley, said he has no intentions of reopening the case in his office. He pointed to the fact that the U.S. Attorney's Office previously reviewed the case and declined to open a federal investigation.
Michael Bell Jr.