REQUIRE AN UNBIASED POLICE REVIEW PROCESS
III. THE DEFENDANTS’ MULTIPLE AND
CONTRADICTORY ACCOUNTS FOR HOW BELL WAS SHOT.
- The positioning of Officer Gonzales is critical to whether deadly force was justified because it goes to the basic issue of whether Officer Gonzales was in a position to verify the presence of a weapon either by visually seeing Bell’s hands or physically touching Officer Strausbaugh’s holster.
- If Officer Gonzales was on Bell’s right side, he would have been in a position to verify that Bell did not have Officer Strausbaugh’s gun.
- It is unreasonable for Officer Gonzales to shoot Bell if Officer Gonzales was in a position to see that Bell was unarmed or that Officer Strausbaugh’s weapon was in his holster, as the defendants’ own consultant on police tactics admits.
A. The Officers Statements And Testimony Supporting
That Bell Was Shot In The Left Side Of The Head.
- After the shooting, the officers returned to the detective bureau.
- According to the Kenosha Police Department Policy and Procedure Manuel regarding Crime Scenes, the officers were to be kept “separate, [because] the most accurate information is provided when the witnesses do not converse and compare what they observed.”
- The defendants were not separated and were together for about three hours before giving statements.
1. Lieutenant Krueger.
- Lieutenant Krueger was interviewed by Detective Niccolai.
- Lieutenant Krueger said that after he was done tasing Bell, he grabbed Bell from behind in a “bear hug.”
- Lieutenant Krueger said that he had Bell pinned against the left front wheel fender of the car.
- Lieutenant Krueger marked his position at the time Bell was shot with the initials “DK” as follows:
- At the time Bell was shot, Lieutenant Kruger said Bell was bent over the hood of the car, leaning forward from the waist, and Lieutenant Krueger was still behind him but in more of an upright position
- Lieutenant Kruger demonstrated Bell’s position at the time he was shot, with “[the table] being the hood of the car, he was bent over like such”:
- Lieutenant Kruger said that his head was turned to the left and saw Officer Gonzales standing at the front of the car.
- Lieutenant Krueger said he saw Officer Gonzales put his gun against the left side of Bell’s head.
- Lieutenant Krueger said that he saw Officer Gonzales’ gun was roughly parallel to the ground with the butt end of the gun roughly perpendicular to the ground.
- Lieutenant Kruger said he saw Officer Gonzales angle the gun towards the windshield and away from the officers.
- Lieutenant Kruger said he saw Officer Gonzales pull the trigger but nothing happened.
- Lieutenant Krueger said he saw Officer Gonzales back the gun away from Bell’s head and the gun discharged.
- Lieutenant Krueger saw Officer Gonzales shoot Bell in the left side of the head, with the gun angled toward the car’s windshield.
- After being shot, Bell slumped straight down on the hood of the car.
2. Officer Gonzales.
- Officer Gonzales was interviewed by Detective Michael Salas.
- Officer Gonzales said he ran to the front of the car because he could not get an angle on Bell.
- Officer Gonzales said that this placed him to Lieutenant Krueger’s left side.
- Officer Gonzales said that Bell was bent forward and between two officers.
- Officer Gonzales said he put his gun against Bell’s head (on which side he did not remember), angled the gun away from the officers and towards the windshield, and put his left hand against Bell’s head.
- Officer Gonzales said he had his gun slightly canted to the right.
- Officer Gonzales said he pulled the trigger twice, with the second shot causing the firearm to discharge.
- Officer Gonzales saw Lieutenant Krueger behind Bell.
- At no time did Officer Gonzales warn Bell that he was going to be shot.
3. Officer Weidner.
- Officer Weidner was interviewed by Detective Diane Walton.
- Officer Weidner said that after Bell was tased, Bell jumped up quickly and took off westbound.
- Officer Weidner said he got up off the ground, looked towards the car, and saw that Lieutenant Krueger, Officer Gonzales and Officer Strausbaugh had Bell up against the hood of the car.
- Officer Weidner said that he “started to go towards them” but saw Kim or Shantae Bell moving towards the car and he had to stay back.
- Officer Weidner said that he then turned back towards the car and said the area was well lit enough for him to see a single hand on Officer Strausbaugh’s gun but he did not know whose hand it was.
- At his deposition, Officer Weidner said, for the very first time, that he could see two hands on Officer Strausbaugh’s gun: one hand on the gun and Officer Strausbaugh’s hand on top.
- Officer Weidner realized that seeing two hands on the gun was an important piece of information after speaking to his lawyers.
- Officer Weidner said the area was well lit enough to see this.
- Officer Weidner said the reason why Lieutenant Krueger did not see this is because Lieutenant Krueger was on Bell’s left side.
- Officer Weidner then said he saw Officer Strausbaugh twist his hip area to try and direct his holster away, and his holster had moved to the center of his hip area.
- Officer Weidner then heard the gunshot.
4. Officer Strausbaugh.
- Officer Strausbaugh was interviewed by Detective Dan Strash.
- Officer Strausbaugh said that he was pushed up against the car by Bell.
- Officer Strausbaugh said that Bell had his arms around Officer Strausbaugh’s midsection and was more to Officer Strausbaugh’s right side.
- Officer Strausbaugh said that when he hit the car, Bell removed his arms from around his midsection, but Officer Strausbaugh said he was still “pinned” against the vehicle.
- Officer Strausbaugh said he felt Bell’s hands on his gun and the safety thumb snap on the holster was now open.
- Officer Strausbaugh said that his entire holster was twisted on his body.
- Officer Strausbaugh confirmed that his gun never left the holster
- Officer Strausbaugh said that he then heard a bang and everything stopped.