Bell, his investigator, claim Morrissey lied in Taser reportPublished 15 hours ago
BY JESSICA TUTTLE
The Kenosha Police and Fire Commission Tuesday heard new allegations of
dishonesty and coverup by the Kenosha Police Department.
Ira Robins, and investigative consultant hired by Michael ME. Bell, said
Kenosha Police Chief John Morrissey lied about providing an independent and
unbiased review of an incident in July in which a police officer stunned a man
with a Taser.
“This issue is a terrible situation,” Robins told the commission. “You people
ordered (Morrissey) to do an investigation, and he tampered with it and tried to
pull a trick on you, and as a matter of fact, did pull a trick on you.”
Bell launched a campaign eight years ago calling for outside review of cases
involving police use of force after his son, Michael E. Bell, 21, was shot to
death in November 2004 by a Kenosha police officer. The city eventually reached
a $1.75 million out-of-court settlement with the Bell family after the family
filed a federal civil rights case.
“The role of the Police and Fire Commission is to protect the public
interest,” Bell said. “It’s not to act as a buffer to cover criminal acts by the
police. They need to take leadership in this and restore the public’s trust in
law enforcement here.”
The allegations presented on Tuesday stem from the investigation of a July 7
incident in which police were called about a brewing fight about 4:30 a.m. in
the 2200 block of 54th Street, according to Kenosha police reports. Officer
Brian Ruha allegedly deployed a Taser within 15 seconds of approaching the scene
of the reported fight.
Commission accepts chief’s findings
The commission unanimously accepted Morrissey’s decision in February not to
discipline the officer. Morrissey’s recommendations were determined by a
combination of his own findings and reportedly independent reviews.
Randall Revling, litigation consultant and expert in the use of force by law
enforcement officers, said he believed Ruha was justified and found his actions
to be commendable. In addition, a report completed by Chuck Joyner, retired CIA
and FBI special agent with experience in use-of-force training and
consultations, said there were pre-incident and post-incident events that
indicated Ruha acted appropriately.
During his investigation, Robins requested a variety of documents, including
emails and records of calls made between Morrissey and the reviewers.
Morrissey provided them with his personal email address and cellphone number
as preferred contact information and wrote, “I am not using my work email due to
open records request.”
Robins: Chief tampered with probe
Robins said the chief retained control of the opinion and helped edit
In an email to Joyner, Morrissey said he attached Joyner’s report with
“additions and corrections” for review. Morrissey also requested two sentences
be added to the report, including one that read, “Chief Morrissey did not
provide his opinion of the incident.” Robins said Joyner’s choice to email his
final work product to the chief as an editable file is “highly unusual.”
In addition, Robins said cellphone records show Morrissey and Revling talked
for a total of 123 minutes between Nov. 26 and Dec. 4. One call, on Dec. 3, was
81 minutes long. Robins claimed the “extensive” telephone contact made it
“obvious” that the two discussed the Taser incident.
“It’s clear that the chief is busted,” Bell said. “This is what I’ve been
saying all along about misconduct and obstruction of justice. ... He
orchestrated, edited and collaborated with each one of these investigators and
then claimed they were independent reviews.”
More materials delivered
Bell said on Friday he delivered an addendum to the FBI and the U.S.
Attorney’s Office regarding Robins’ findings. On Monday, he delivered additional
data to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s office and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s office.
“There’s more coming,” Robins said. “We have enough to have this chief
criminally charged, and that’s what I’m asking to be done.”
Morrissey said on Tuesday that he would not address the issue.