On February 2, 1958, a 22-year old black man named Daniel Bell was pulled over by two white Milwaukee police officers near the corner of 8th and Wright. Bell had a broken taillight. Bell jumped out of his car and ran. The officers gave chase and caught up with Bell at 2650 N. 6th St. There, one of the officers, Thomas Grady, shot Bell at close range in the back of the neck. He planted a knife on Bell, and would go on to claim that the shooting was in self defense. And inquest was soon held, and even though a neighbor who saw the shooting testified that Bell did not have a knife (and even though the knife was planted in the right hand of the left-handed Bell), an all-white jury cleared the police of any wrongdoing.

More than two decades passed. Then, in 1979, the second officer involved in the shooting, Louis Krause, came forward with the truth. Krause’s story about what really happened in 1958 is the subject of this remarkable 60 Minutes story, originally broadcast in 1980 and uploaded to YouTube only yesterday:

Thanks to Krause’s revelation, Grady was soon arrested in Colorado and was sentenced to seven years in prison (later reduced to five). One year after the 60 Minutes story ran, the Bell family was awarded $1.79 million. A New York Times story from 1981 opens with this:

Members of the family of Daniel Bell, a 22-year-old black man shot to death here in 1958 by a white policeman, feel good about the $1.79 million awarded them last week by a jury but insist that no amount of money can make up for his death.

”Justice has finally been done,” said Sylvia Bell White, 51, of Waterloo, Wis., Daniel’s only sister among 11 brothers. ”But even if they gave me $100 million it could never repay me for all the suffering.”

The City of Milwaukee appealed the decision; the award was eventually reduced to $1.6 million.

Read more about the Bell case HERE.

About The Author

Matt Wild
Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.

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