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  1. #1
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    Buffalo man endures three days in jail, $21,000 in legal fees and permanent nerve damage to thumb defending a friend from an off-duty cop.

    nthony M. Bell says he and his family have endured a year of pure misery since the night he attended a Cleveland Indians game against the New York Yankees in April 2008. Bell, who lives in Derby, spent three days in a Cleveland jail. He suffered partial nerve damage in his thumb. He was charged with felony assault of a police officer. He has made about 10 trips back to Cleveland for court appearances. And he has paid $21,000 to an attorney who has since dropped his case.
    Bell, 23, contends that he did nothing wrong other than try to break up what he thought was a fight between his friend and some fans who were upset with his friend’s behavior at the end of the game.
    “All I did was stick my arms out and get involved, just helping a friend,” he said. “That’s all I did.”
    While Cleveland police have a different version of the events on the night of April 26, 2008, Bell refuses to back down. He’s taking his case public. And he’s armed with a report showing that the police lieutenant he supposedly assaulted has a documented history of using force while making arrests. That report says that the lieutenant recorded more “uses of force” than he has arrests over a 3 1/2-year period.
    “I just want justice,” Bell said in a recent interview. “I would plead to absolutely nothing. I’m not the person at fault. I went to a baseball game to have fun, and I paid $21,000 and spent three days in jail, all to help my friend.”
    On April 26 of last year, Bell, then a big fan of the Indians, went to the Yankees-Indians game with his best friend, Brian Wisniewski, and Wisniewski’s brother, James.
    When the Yankees tied the game at 3 in the sixth inning, James Wisniewski, a Yankees fan, cheered loudly and began engaging in a brief dispute with two fans in front of the Buffalo group. A security guard in a yellow jacket later showed up and told James Wisniewski to come with him. Wisniewski refused, so the security officer grabbed him by the arm and escorted him from the stands.
    His brother and Bell followed. “We got outside, and, all of a sudden, somebody in a white shirt came up and grabbed Brian,” Bell said. “I saw his right sleeve come over my left shoulder.
    “I thought it was one of the two fans. I stepped between them and put my arms out to keep them apart and keep the peace. . . . I pushed the person with my forearm slightly in the upper-middle back to get him away from Brian.”
    Bell later learned that the man in the white shirt, who never identified himself at the beginning of the incident, was an off-duty Cleveland police officer. That officer, along with one or two other officers, dragged Bell to the ground, where, he said, he was punched in the kidney and stomach a few times and kneed in the head.
    "I was held on the ground for 10 seconds, maybe 15 seconds, with a knee pressed to my head,” Bell said. “I kept yelling, ‘I’m being compliant. I’m being compliant.’ Whenever I said I was being compliant, he pushed harder [with his knee].”
    Then as he was handcuffed and being taken to the cell inside Progressive Field, Bell said a couple of things that, in hindsight, he regrets.
    “What are you, the [blanking] Cleveland police?” he asked.
    “Yeah, you’re going to find out the hard way,” one of the officers replied, according to Bell.
    Bell, who was 22 at the time, said he also threatened to sue the Cleveland police, a threat that he thinks led officers to increase the charges against him.
    He later said he was called multiple obscenities, thrown hard against a concrete wall and then had a piece of metal pressed hard into the base of his thumb, leaving him with what he said was partial nerve damage.
    While Bell was in the jail cell, he said, one of the police officers turned to him and said, “We got you reaching for the gun. That’s one to three years.”
    Bell spent 2 1/2 days in jail, charged with assault on a police officer, robbery and resisting arrest.
    He considers the charges absurd, saying that he never harmed anyone and that he only slightly nudged one person with his arm. He bristles at the accusation that he reached for the officer’s gun.
    “I’ve never shot or held a gun before, so why would I try to do that? That’s ridiculous,” Bell said. “I have no violent past at all, and the last thing in the world I’m going to do is pick a fight with an officer.”
    The police version
    Cleveland police reports provide another version. Officers say they were working “authorized secondary employment” at Progressive Field when they escorted three unruly fans from the game after the final out.
    One of the three, apparently James Wisniewski, was accused of shouting obscenities and threats at the officers. One of the officers, Lt. Timothy Gaertner, advised the man that he was under arrest and grabbed him by the shirt as he attempted to run away, according to the police report.
    “It was at this time that another male, later identified as Anthony Bell, grabbed Lt. Gaertner by the shirt and then punched him in the face,” the police report states.
    After Gaertner struck Bell in self-defense, according to the police report, “Bell then grabbed Lt. Gaertner’s handgun and tried to pull it out of his holster causing his belt to break.”
    After James Wisniewski was accused of kneeing Gaertner in the ribs, Bell continued to fight with Gaertner, until another off-duty officer helped the lieutenant handcuff Bell, according to the police report.
    Gaertner was treated by Cleveland Clinic medics at the scene for bruised ribs and scrapes to his knees and elbows.
    Bell, listed as 5-feet-9 and 130 pounds, suffered minor injuries, according to the police report.
    Cleveland police said they would let the criminal-justice system determine who’s right.
    “There’s a court system, and any defendant will be afforded his due-process rights,” said Lt. Thomas Stacho, public information officer for the Cleveland police. “We’ll let it go through the courts and let the courts decide [the defendant’s] guilt or innocence.”
    Asked about the incident itself, Stacho said, “I can’t speak to it.”
    Newspaper gives data
    Unraveling who’s telling the truth is difficult.
    The Bells have received a copy of a DVD of the surveillance footage of the incident. The footage is pixilated, and some of the grappling is blocked from the eye of the camera, making it difficult to see exactly what happened.
    The DVD does show that when the lieutenant approached him, Bell reached out, before they began wrestling. But it’s impossible to determine whose version of events is more accurate, Bell’s or the police officers’.
    Bell does have one strong argument that could be used against the police lieutenant, however. The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper compiled a database of Cleveland police officers and their use of force from Jan. 1, 2003, to Sept. 9, 2006.
    The database, which runs 25 pages, lists almost 900 police officers, with the number of arrests they made over that period and the number of times nondeadly force was used. Another column then lists the “uses of force per arrest.”
    One officer, for example, has 18 uses of force out of 611 arrests, or about 3 percent in the column “uses of force per arrest.” For an overwhelming majority of officers, the figures are below 10 percent.
    Gaertner, the lieutenant accusing Bell, had 27 uses of force out of 24 arrests, or 113 percent, according to the data. That’s presumably because an officer can be accused of using force without making an arrest or using force more than once during a single arrest.
    Only three other officers had figures above 100 percent, and none had more than two arrests.
    “This guy’s known for excessive force,” said Dwayne M. Bell, father of Anthony. “For him to go out and be grabbing someone without identifying himself as a police officer, that’s not a good cop. There’s no other way to look at it. And the police report is a joke.”
    Attorney withdraws
    So if Anthony Bell was wrongly accused and the victim of an overzealous police officer, why can’t he prove his innocence in court?
    Only time will tell. The case has dragged on for more than a year.
    The Bells say they paid their former attorney, William L. Summers, a total of $21,086 before he withdrew from the case, telling the Bells that he couldn’t do his job properly because Dwayne Bell kept questioning his tactics.
    A private investigator also has told the family that Summers knows someone in the police lieutenant’s family.
    Summers could not be reached to comment late last week.
    A public defender now represents Anthony Bell, and his trial could start as early as today.
    In the efforts to settle this case, it will be approximately his 11th trip back to Cleveland.

  2. #2
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    Should we ask Bell if it was worth it?


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  3. #3
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    Well at least for a welcome change the article presented both sides of the story.
    SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM

    "It's a great life. You risk your skin catching killers and the juries turn them loose so they can come back and shoot at you again. If your honest , your poor your whole life. And , In the end , you wind up dying all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothing. For a tin star."
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  4. #4
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    Even the defense attorney dumped him. You know it's bad when that happens. The guys is a class a douchebag. He fought with the cops and lost. Because the cop documents uses of force like he's supposed to, even when backing on other cop's calls, somehow he's at fault....

    At least with a nerve damaged thumb, one of the two fingers he uses to masturbate will feel like someone else's finger.
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

    That which does not kill me, better start fucking running.

    If I lived every day like it was my last, the body count would be staggering.

    I intend to go in harm's way. -John Paul Jones

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xiphos View Post
    Even the defense attorney dumped him. You know it's bad when that happens. The guys is a class a douchebag. He fought with the cops and lost. Because the cop documents uses of force like he's supposed to, even when backing on other cop's calls, somehow he's at fault....

    At least with a nerve damaged thumb, one of the two fingers he uses to masturbate will feel like someone else's finger.
    It really work out well for him if he's small enough to only need one finger
    He who has the money, signs the cheques.
    He who signs the cheques, makes the rules.
    He who makes the rules, has the power.
    He who has the power, has the money.

  6. #6
    Xiphos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 213th View Post
    It really work out well for him if he's small enough to only need one finger
    If he really needs to he can grab another cop's gun and suffer more nerve damage.
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

    That which does not kill me, better start fucking running.

    If I lived every day like it was my last, the body count would be staggering.

    I intend to go in harm's way. -John Paul Jones

    Hunt the wolf, and bring light to the dark places that others fear to go. LT COL Dave Grossman

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xiphos View Post
    Even the defense attorney dumped him. You know it's bad when that happens.
    That is the FIRST thought I had when I started the article. The attorney had already made $21000. Why wouldn't he stick around? Probably because this guy is a Grade A piece of shit.
    "If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970

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  8. #8
    Xiphos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 121Traffic View Post
    That is the FIRST thought I had when I started the article. The attorney had already made $21000. Why wouldn't he stick around? Probably because this guy is a Grade A piece of shit.
    And there's no case. He really strikes me as the kind of person who has never been wrong in his whole life.
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

    That which does not kill me, better start fucking running.

    If I lived every day like it was my last, the body count would be staggering.

    I intend to go in harm's way. -John Paul Jones

    Hunt the wolf, and bring light to the dark places that others fear to go. LT COL Dave Grossman

  9. #9
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    I don't find it strange at all that a Lt. would have more documented uses of force than arrests. How many times have we all been backed up by a supervisor that assisted with a resisting suspect. The line officer does the arrest report and his use of force paper. The supervisor documents his actions such as use of force but didn't actually arrest anyone.

    Maybe we should get people that resist arrest to fill out their own use of force documentation.

    I can imagine most of these would read like this: "I didn't do nuff'n!"

    Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkzV5AIK8iM
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  10. #10
    213th's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xiphos View Post
    If he really needs to he can grab another cop's gun and suffer more nerve damage.
    Lol. How much you wanna bet he doesn't learn the first time around. Dumbasses. Keep you guys employed tho
    He who has the money, signs the cheques.
    He who signs the cheques, makes the rules.
    He who makes the rules, has the power.
    He who has the power, has the money.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five-0 View Post
    I don't find it strange at all that a Lt. would have more documented uses of force than arrests. How many times have we all been back up by a supervisor that assisted with a resisting suspect. The line officer does the arrest report and his use of force paper. The supervisor documents his actions such as use of force but didn't actually arrest anyone.

    Maybe we should get people that resist arrest to fill out their own use of force documentation.

    I can imagine most of these would read like this: "I didn't do nuff'n!"
    My thoughts exactly.... If he is backing people up and assisting with taking someone into custody he isn't going to show that arrest under his stats. But he will document the use of force. This is why stats just by themselves usually sucks
    'Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a
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    possible to pick up a turd by the clean end!'

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