OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 News) – A man shot by police will stand trial.
A Weber district court judge ruled Friday that there’s enough evidence for Jamal Bell to go to trial.
The ruling follows Bell’s preliminary hearing in which police and his wife testified about the danger he posed during an incident in March.
Harrisville police responded to a domestic disturbance and found Bell wielding two knives in his hand. Officers shot multiple times after they claimed Bell refused to obey their command and continued moving in the officer’s direction.
The Weber County attorney determined the officers were justified in the shooting. And Bell was later charged with four second degree felonies for assaulting the officers.
Bell appeared for Friday’s preliminary hearing with his attorney. He’s no longer in a wheelchair but walked with a noticeable limp. He was shot nine times.
In court, Nick Taylor, one of the officers who responded to the 911 call testified about the moment he and others decided to shoot.
“He had a knife,” said Taylor. “I told him to drop the knife but he didn’t do it.
He said Bell kept moving in his direction and noticed a “smile” on his face while holding knives in both hands.
Officers tasered Bell but it did not stop him according to Taylor. He claimed that he warned Bell if he took another step towards them he would be shot. Bell wouldn’t stop.
“I feared for my life,” Taylor said. “He was too close.”
Under state law a threat constitutes an assault even if there is no physical contact according to the deputy Weber County attorney.
“Under the code an assault can be an attempt to cause somebody bodily injury or in this particular case a threat of violence,” said prosecutor Brandon Miles.
But Bell’s s attorney claimed he only took two steps towards the officer and admits Bell failed to comply but did not assault the officers.
Bell left the courtroom without offering any comment. His parents also declined to comment. His supporters felt disappointed that the charges weren’t dropped and that this specific law is unfair.
“Looks like he is going to have to stand trial unfortunately,” said Malik Dayo, a community activist. “I think he’s already paid by the eleven times he got shot and they shot him not only when he was up but was shot while he was on the ground as well.”
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