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Mistrial declared in lawsuit against Kansas City police

Jurors were unable to reach a verdict in a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by a Black man who was wrongly arrested when he was 15 and held for three weeks without charge.

Arthur Benson, an attorney for Tyree Bell, told The Kansas City Star on Wednesday that they are looking forward to a new trial after the mistrial was declared earlier this month.

Officers Peter Neukrich and Jonathan Munyan said they arrested Bell on June 8, 2016, because he resembled another teen who had run away from officers earlier in the day, discarding a gun as he fled. Bell was walking home about a mile from where that happened when the officers stopped him.

A federal appeals court found last year that he could sue because his only resemblance to the suspect was that he was Black, juvenile and male.

Police video showed Bell was taller, had a different hairstyle and was wearing different clothing than the original suspect.

The officers argued that they watched dashcam video of the earlier event and had reasonable belief that Bell was the suspect. But it wasn’t until June 29 that a detective watched the video and concluded Bell wasn’t the suspect and should be released from detention.

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