Tyree Bell was 15-years-old when he was arrested by Kansas City police in 2016 and held for three weeks without being charged.
On June 8, 2016, Tyree Bell was walking home from visiting a relative, and he was stopped by police.
Officers Peter Neukrich and Jonathan Munyan had received a call that three Black males were playing with guns on a corner.
When the officers arrived, one of the suspects reportedly ran in the opposite direction.
The officers chased the suspect, but he got away.
A little while later, the officers stopped Bell a mile away.
Bell was taller than the suspect, and his hair was different. He also had on different clothing.
Despite the obvious differences in Bell’s appearance, the officers still took him into custody and kept him for a 24-hour “investigative hold.”
Bell was held for three weeks without being charged.
He was released after detectives watch patrol car videos that showed that Bell’s clothing and appearance clearly did not match the suspect’s.
Bell’s attorney, Arthur Benson, released the following statement:
It was a part of a national disgrace that has been allowed to persist among white police for forty years: cross-race identifications of Black males by white officers are often wrong.
And they are often wrong because too many police departments do not train their officers that all Blacks do not look alike and how to make an eyewitness identification that is not tainted by racial stereotypes.
Tyree Bell was a victim of the Kansas City Police Department’s failure to address this national outrage.
Bell attempted to sue officers Neukrich and Manyan originally, but the case was dismissed due to qualified immunity.
A federal appeals court reinstated the suit in October 2020, finding that the officers did not have probable cause to arrest Bell.
A jury was unable to reach an unanimous verdict in the trial last year, and it was declared a mistrial.
The case was scheduled to go to trial again on Monday, February 28, but due to the pending settlement the proceeding was cancelled.
Police spokesperson Sgt. Jake Becchina released the following statement concerning the settlement:
Regarding the settlement of the lawsuit in this matter, the Board of Police Commissioners have agreed to a settlement amount of $900,000 made payable to Mr. Bell and his attorney Arthur Benson representing $458,000 for attorney’s fees and costs and $442,000 for compensatory damages.
We are glad we reached a mutual resolution and we wish Mr. Bell and his family all the best.
Funny how the attorney is awarded more than the person that spent three weeks behind bars.
Watch the FOX 4 Kansas City News report below:
The settlement has been approved by the Kansas City Police Department, but it still needs approval from a federal judge.
Source: The Grio