As previously reported on this website in “Medical Examiner Changes Ruling on Death of Man in Police Custody to Homicide,” Derek Williams died in Milwaukee Police Department (“MPD”) custody in July 2011.
Initially, a Milwaukee County assistant medical examiner ruled that Mr. Williams died of natural causes, relying upon a statement by an MPD Detective that Mr. Williams died “without incident.” The assistant medical examiner did not review the police reports from the incident, nor did he review the disturbing police video which shows Mr. Williams in the back of an MPD squad car struggling to breathe and begging for help.
If the assistant medical examiner had reviewed the police reports, he would have known that an MPD officer “ended up on top of Williams” and pressed his knee into Mr. Williams’ back. After the assistant medical examiner reviewed the police reports and the squad car video, he changed his ruling on Mr. Williams’ death from natural causes to homicide.
There are other new developments regarding the investigation into the death of Derek Williams. MPD Chief Ed Flynn released two memorandums. The first memorandum directs police officers to call for an ambulance in certain situations, such as when a person, like Mr. Williams, is having difficulty breathing. The second memorandum creates a critical incident review board, which will respond to incidents when a person is either killed or injured by MPD officers. In addition, it was learned that Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Kevin Martens will preside over a public inquest into Mr. Williams’ death.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney will appoint a special prosecutor to handle the inquest. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a great article updating the investigation into Mr. Williams’ death.
Milwaukee Personal Injury Lawyers For Legal Representation in Wisconsin
The civil rights attorneys of Samster, Konkel & Safran represent the long-term girlfriend of Derek Williams, on behalf of their three young children. Our Wisconsin personal injury lawyers will do our best to ensure that there is justice and accountability for Mr. Williams’ death.
There is a memorial fund to provide support for Mr. Williams’ children. Please bring donations to the offices of Samster, Konkel & Safran, 1110 North Old World Third Street, Suite 405, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203. Checks can be made out to the “Derek M. Williams Jr. Children’s Memorial Fund.”