A change to Missouri’s policy on the use of lethal force by police has the support of a man who pushed for similar changes in Wisconsin, after police fatally shot his handcuffed son in 2004.
HB 1207 is sponsored by Representative Shamed Dogan (R-Ballwin). It would require an independent investigation when an officer uses deadly force. It also must be conducted outside of the agency where the death took place.
Emotional testimony was offered by Michael Bell as he described why he thinks such an investigation is important. Bell told the committee he thought the investigation of his son’s death was deeply flawed from the beginning.
“Within about two days, they had completely found themselves justified in the shooting, before witness statements were taken, before autopsies were complete, before crime lab reports were done,” said Bell.
Bell’s campaign to pass a law in Wisconsin had unanimous support in both that state’s House and Senate.
Representative Dogan told a house committee Tuesday that people need to have faith in law enforcement and our justice system. “In my area, in St. Louis County, we do not have that confidence right now,” said Dogan. “The purpose of this bill is to try and reinstitute that confidence by having an outside investigation whenever there is an officer involved death.”
Several bills dealing with the deadly force issue have been filed this session in Missouri.