justice

David James Bell, Acquitted of Kidnapping, Now Going After His Attackers

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Last month, Salt Lake City’s David “DJ” Bell was acquitted on kidnapping charges, brought against him when his neighbors accused him of taking their two children in the middle of the night. Jurors were left puzzled: With such flimsy evidence, why were charges even brought? Well, allow Bell to explain.

At a press conference yesterday, Bell (pictured center, with attorneys Robert Kraft and Susanne Gustin) revealed what happened that night, according to the Salt Lake Tribune:

He’d joined in his neighbor’s late night party, chatting, singing and having a drink. He’d walked back home to refill his glass, only to find two of the neighbors’ young children in his yard, asking for Kool-Aid.

Bell said he gave them a soft drink, at which point the children’s mother came charging at him, slapping him and screaming. Then more neighbors poured over, Bell said, breaking in doors and windows, beating him, slashing him with

glass shards and slamming his head into his driveway. His partner, Daniel Fair, was also assaulted.

Police were called; the neighbors told them Bell had lured the children into his home, and that was it for the investigation, he said.

And, he and his attorneys said, South Salt Lake police spoke only briefly with people who were in Bell’s home at the time — taking names and listening for a few minutes. Nor, said Megan Dunyon — who was sleeping in Bell’s home when the violence began — did any investigator return her call asking for a chance to tell the other side of the story.

The District Attorney is now weighing whether to bring charges against Bell’s neighbors, who he alleges violently attacked him and his partner. We say: Bring it. And so does Bell, who’s likely bringing a civil suit against the neighbors.

Meanwhile, despite allegations from the defense that the police bungled the case:

South Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Snyder said Monday that he stands by the investigation.

Bell believes what happened to him was a hate crime. (Conversely, at his trial, a prosecutor said the defense had “played the Polynesian card” because of the neighbors’ ethnicity.)

Bell wants those who beat him charged, convicted, imprisoned and given counseling.

“As long as the people who attacked me are free,” he said, “I am not.”