MEMORIAL DAY SALUTE TO SGT. EARL K. BELL
THIS 2020 MEMORIAL DAY IS IN MEMORY OF MY VIET NAM VET BROTHER SGT. EARL ‘BULL’ BELL.
50+ YEARS LATER CORRUPT COPS & RACISM STILL ON TOP BURNER.
He was a Military Cop (MP) in Mannheim, Germany, starting fullback on the base football team, Heavyweight Boxing Champion, table Tennis Champion and a softball umpire. He led black military soldiers on downtown nightclubs that had policies of “No Blacks allowed”! He confronted U. S. Army MPs who were there to enforce the racist policies of the clubs. His actions did not sit well with U. S. Army brass. He was all set to sign for another tour, but decided to separate from a racist Army and return home to DC.
Bull Bell the Champion
Some how Jet Magazine got hold of our stories, Earl confronting racism in Germany and his big brother making out with a racist President at the White House. The beat went on. Earl applied for the DC Police Department and discovered racism was just not confined to Germany. He passed the physical and scored high on the written exam, but he received a letter from black Assistant Chief Maurice Turner a home town boy, the letter said, he was ineligible because of his previous juvenile record.
The Bells, Bull, Mommy B, HB and older brother Bobby (not seen my younger brother William aka, Billy, Puddin, and Tyrik)
I knew there was a law on the books saying, “An adult’s juvenile record cannot be held against him in applying for a job in the DC Government. I turned the letter over to my friend Washington Post columnist, Bill Raspbery. Bill contacted Chief Jerry Wilson and Wilson directed Turner to write Earl a letter of apology saying it was all a mistake.
DC first black Police Chief Burtell Jefferson welcomes Earl to the rank and file. Burtell was all in on Community and Police Relations. He was a frequent supporter of my community endeavors.
During a tour of duty as Sgt. in-charge of the cell block a weekend home for prisoners being held until they could see a judge for a trial date or bond hearing. It was here Sgt. Bell encountered two police officers, one black and one white physically abusing black prisoners only on the weekends. He confronted the two officers and made it clear they would cease the abuse on his watch. The two officers ignored his warning and continued their cowardly acts. He asked me for my advice and I advised him to turn them into the black officials we knew from ‘The Hood’, Marty Tapscott, Maurice Turner, and Issac Fullwood. They all ran for cover and became the ‘Three Little Monkeys, they saw no evil, heard no evil and therefore spoke no evil.
TOP COPS: Tillman O’Byrant and Burtell had retired when Bull was confronted with the THIN BLUE LINE and CODE OF SILENCE!
Bull Bell took his case to the U. S. Attorney’s office and the two cops were indicted. Enter, The Thin Blue Line and Code of Silence and the end of a career of a “Good Cop”! Chief Maurice Turner warned Bull “Watch Your Back”??? Assistant Chief the late Isacc Fullwood, lied to me and said, ‘I got his back’! Three months later Fullwood took Bull off the streets and assigned him to the Police and Fire Clinic without explanation. Sgt. Earl K. Bell driving to the clinic for his new assignment crossing the road on Southern Ave and Suitland Parkway the road had iced over and Sgt. Bell’s car skidded into a 16 wheeler coming from the opposite side of the street. Sgt. Bell survived but he would be paralized for life. The S. E. Community Hospital was overrun with cops, many were there hoping for his recovery and others were hoping he would die. He would die a decade later in a nursing home. On this Memorial Day 2020 I salute my brother for being counted among the living when it counted.