As previously reported here, the Wisconsin legislature has been considering a bill that would end the practice of law enforcement agencies investigating themselves after a death in police custody. The proposed bill would require a team of at least two investigators from an outside agency to investigate in-custody deaths. Reports from the investigation would be released to the public if criminal charges were not filed against the law enforcement officers involved. The Wisconsin State Assembly passed the bill back in February. On Tuesday, April 1, 2014, the State Senate passed the bill on a voice vote without debate. Michael Bell, whose son was shot and killed by Kenosha police, expressed his gratitude that the legislature approved the bill, stating “I applaud the GOP leadership and law enforcement for doing the right thing here and making the process better for everyone.” The bill now heads to Governor Scott Walker for approval.
The Milwaukee civil rights attorneys of Samster, Konkel & Safran represent the three young children of Derek Williams, along with their mother. Mr. Williams died in Milwaukee Police Department custody back in July 2011. We congratulate the legislature for passing the bill and we encourage Governor Walker to sign the bill, so that there can be justice and accountability for deaths in police custody.