ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois State Troopers who arrested Lamar Bell in Rockford in July will not face criminal charges in his death, which was determined to be from an overdose of cocaine.
The decision, by the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office, follows a months long investigation into Bell’s death undertaken by the Illinois State Police Division of Internal Investigation.
According to ISP, a trooper pulled a vehicle over near the intersection of 10th Avenue and Kishwaukee Street around 7:59 p.m. on July 17th.
Bell, 33, was placed in police custody. While at the scene, police said “Bell began exhibiting signs of a medical emergency associated with the consumption of narcotics. Narcotics were also found in the vehicle.”
In body camera video released by police, Bell begins exhibiting excited behavior during his questioning and complaining about his heart, asking officers to call an ambulance. Medical personnel arrived at the scene within 10 minutes and began administering aid.
During the encounter, Bell told officers he had ingested the contents of several baggies of cocaine he had purchased prior to the traffic stop, but then added, “Just playing, ha, ha.”
After Bell began to kick and scream inside the squad car, the troopers removed him from the vehicle and sat him on the grass near the curb.
Bell was taken to UW SwedishAmerican and began to seize while in the ambulance. According to the Winnebago County Coroner, he was pronounced dead in the emergency room at 9:13 p.m.
No signs of traumatic injury were found after an autopsy was performed, the coroner said. Bell’s cause of death was later attributed to “adverse effects of cocaine,” and 42 baggies containing cocaine were found in his stomach and throat.
State’s Attorney J. Hanley concluded that the circumstances of Bell’s death did not support a charge of involuntary manslaughter, nor the charge of failure to render aid or official misconduct, in that the troopers called for an ambulance in a resonable amount of time, given their understanding of the situation.