Bell buys N.Y. Times ad to put pressure on Evers, Kaul

By: - November 17, 2021 5:00 am
newspaper ad images

In November 2021, Michael M. Bell purchased a two-page ad in the New York Times to publicize his call for a new investigation into the police shooting of his son in 2004. (Wisconsin Examiner photo illustration)

Continuing his push for a new investigation of his son’s death 17 years ago at the hands of Kenosha police officers, Michael M. Bell has purchased a two-page New York Times ad scheduled to run in Wednesday’s edition of the newspaper.

The ad includes a reproduction of the letter that Bell, a Kenosha resident, delivered to Gov. Tony Evers in October, castigating Atty. Gen. Josh Kaul for not responding to Bell’s repeated requests over the last three years for an opportunity to discuss his concerns about his son’s death.

The ad airs Bell’s accusations of Kenosha police misconduct, and it is running as Kenosha has drawn national attention with the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse in the shooting deaths of two protesters in August 2020. Versions of the ad have previously run in the Kenosha News and the Wisconsin State Journal. 

The Kenosha Police Department has rejected accusations of wrongdoing in the shooting or its follow-up investigation, which the department conducted internally and concluded in two days. Bell later campaigned for a state law, enacted in 2014, that requires deaths involving police officers to be investigated by an outside agency.

The Kenosha County district attorney’s office has rebuffed previous attempts by Bell for a new investigation.

“A History of Corruption,” the ad is headlined on the first page. “How Kenosha PD Killed Michael Bell.”

The same page has a blown-up copy of the cover letter Bell wrote and delivered to Evers Oct. 29 along with more than 700 pages of material in support of his complaint that the attorney general has ignored a series of previous attempts Bell made to interest Kaul in his concerns about the November 2004 killing of his son, Michael E. Bell.

The second page of the ad is taken up with 22 bullet points and accompanying photographs and illustrations detailing inconsistencies and alleged flaws in the police investigation after an officer fatally shot the younger Bell Nov. 9, 2004, following  a traffic stop. It also directs readers to the website and Facebook page that the elder Bell has created to publicize his critique of how the Kenosha Police handled the investigation of his son’s death. He has also posted the ad on those sites.

“I think it needs to be in the national spotlight,” Bell said in an interview. In addition to the readership of the New York Times, Bell said the ad also has a target audience of one person: Evers.

“Absolutely,” Bell said. “One hundred percent. Right now I think we have enough material in that complaint to show that there’s an issue with justice and A.G. Kaul.

“This is important. And if the eyes of the nation are looking at Gov. Evers, will he do the right thing?”


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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Deputy Editor Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary.