Illinois State Police troopers face no charges in death of Rockford man

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 10:46 AM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley says two Illinois State Police members will not face charges in connection to the in-custody death of Lamar Bell of Rockford.

In a news release Wednesday, Hanley says trooper Daniel Monaco and Master Sergeant Michael Steele could have faced involuntary manslaughter and fail to render aid charges.

On July 17, Illinois State Police pulled over a vehicle near the intersection of 10th Avenue and Kishwaukee Street in Rockford. The troopers asked Bell, who was the only occupant, to get out of his car, citing what they called erratic behavior. Bell was then placed in handcuffs while troopers searched his vehicle. Reports say several bags of what is believed to be cocaine was discovered inside. Monaco asked Bell what the substance was and Bell said “cocaine”.

Hanley says Bell began to shake when asked how much cocaine he ingested.

After he was put in the front seat of the trooper’s vehicle, Bell began yelling that he needed an ambulance. Eventually, according to body cam footage, he asked law enforcement to pump his chest and to call his mother. Toward the end of the footage, emergency crews arrived, and Bell appears to become more unresponsive.

He later died at a local hospital.

An autopsy revealed Bell had an enlarged heart and found what amounted to 40 bags of cocaine in his stomach and two bags in his throat.

Hanley determined the events surrounding the traffic stop were legal and Illinois State Police “met their duty to render medical aid and assistance”.