Family, activists protest police shooting, charges against Weber County man

Local News

OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Activists gathered outside of the Weber Center on Friday to protest the police shooting of Jamal Bell. Bell was shot multiple times by police officers on March 23 inside his Harrisville home.

“Justice for Jamal,” was the message Black Lives Matter Utah and other activists had for the Weber County Attorney’s Office. 

Bell says he was struck by bullets 11 times. 

“Eleven damn times!” Bell shouted in front of the crowd of protesters.

According to a probable cause statement, officers went to Bell’s apartment after receiving calls of a disturbance between him and his girlfriend. When officers encountered Bell he had two knives in hands. 

“I was cleaning my house. Yea I had knives in my hand,” Bell admitted. “It was nothing to threaten them with. I had my hands down the whole time. I didn’t threaten them. I didn’t lunge at them. I didn’t do nothing. “

Documents state police repeatedly told Bell to drop his knives.

“I felt like if I would have dropped them they still would have shot me. Any little movement they would have shot me,” Bell responded when ABC4’s Brittany Johnson asked why he didn’t drop the knives.

Police tried once to subdue Bell with a taser but they missed. Documents state police then opened fire.

“Four officers and they shot one taser at me. No matter what, if they felt threatened they had three other times they could have used their tasers instead of right when they got there pulling their guns on me,” Bell told reporters.

Following the shooting, Bell was charged with four counts off assault on a peace officer, a second-degree felony.

“It aint right!” he yelled out while holding back tears.

“Should you have been charged?” Johnson asked Bell.

“No! I should not have been charged. I didn’t get near them, I didn’t touch them, I didn’t threaten them. So how am I going to get charged with assault?” Bell responded. 

“Jamal didn’t step towards them, he didn’t go after them, he didn’t lay a finger on them. So how they feel their life was in danger when he’s holding two butter knives is a joke to me,” said Chandra Bell, Jamal’s mother.

In addition to wanting his charges dropped, Bell also wants officers to undergo de-escalation training.

“I understand if someone pulls a gun out on you, then yes, you have to do what you have to do. But with people that are not threatening you, and you feel they are a threat because they are big, or whatever their reason, they need a different resort than just shooting somebody.”

“I want the officers that did this to be fired – obviously. They need more diversity training. Black people are not weapons. He was standing in his own house,” Lex Scott, Founder of Black Lives Matter Utah told Johnson.

Black Lives Matter Utah organized Friday’s protest. 

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