A New Law Regarding Deaths in Police Custody

by Tim Lynch
Apr. 26, 2014

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
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….

[State legislators] credited the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, along with other media, with informing the public about the issue and keeping people up-to-date on the bill’s progress.

“Without stories like the ones that you did, I don’t know if this bill would have passed,” Taylor told the Journal Sentinel.

The Journal Sentinel first reported on the Bell family’s activism in 2005. The newspaper’s coverage of Williams’ death resulted in the medical examiner reclassifying it from natural to homicide in 2012.
Kudos to the Bell family, the Journal Sentinel, and the pols who pushed for this much needed reform.

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