Chief Edward Flynn
Milwaukee Common Council and Mayor Barrett requesting the U.S. Attorney's Office to investigate the homicide of Williams while in police custody.
By H. Nelson Goodson
September 25, 2012
Milwaukee, WI - On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Common Council and Mayor Tom Barrett will meet in close session to discuss their request for the U.S. Attorney's Office to investigate the homicide of Derek Williams, 22, while in police custody. John Chisholm, Milwaukee County District Attorney on Monday indicated that he wanted a special prosecutor to investigate Williams homicide involving three Milwaukee police officers accused of negligence for refusing to render medical assistance to a suspect in custody resulting in death.
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn says, the department will make available all records and evidence to the feds, if the U.S. Attorney's Office takes the case. Calls for Chief Flynn to resign is spreading after allegations of a police coverup were made by local Attorney Robin Shellow, who is representing Williams mother.
Over the weekend, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office revised their July 6, 2011 death determination for Williams from a natural cause contributed by sickle cell complications while in Milwaukee police custody to a homicide. A ruling by Assistant Medical Examiner Cristopher Poulos in 2011 indicated the examiner failed to review all of the evidence, including a police squad video showing Williams suffering problems from breathing before ruling that Williams had died from sickle cell complications. It was determined later, that Williams didn't have sickle cell disease.
Attorney Shellow confirmed on Monday, that Poulos had reviewed the video in 2011 before ruling Williams had died from the sickle cell disease because she was present when Poulos saw it.
The video showed Williams begging for medical attention after repeatedly telling an officer he couldn't breathe and was suffocating in the rear seat of a police vehicle. The officer told Williams that he was playing games, according to the audio in the video.
The Williams case was reviewed after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel contacted Assistant Medical Examiner Poulos about new evidence and a video released through an open records request that was excluded in 2011 to determine the death of Williams.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office reopened the Williams death investigation and is pursuing an independent investigation. Chief Flynn said earlier, that he doesn't believe an officer would be charged in Williams homicide.
In July 2011, Williams was arrested for attempted robbery shortly after being released from jail on a warrant for a child support violation. He ran and fled from police on N. Holton and E. Center, but was arrested by Officers Patrick Coe and Richard Ticcioni, who were two of five officers responding to the call.
Williams was placed on Officer Jeffrey Cline's squad who initially responded to the call with Officer Zachary Thoms.
Williams, who is Black complained to Officer Cline that he couldn't breathe and the officer opened the windows. Then Cline left to finish his robbery investigation, while Officer Jason Bleichwehl questioned Williams in the squad.
Williams had complained about his breathing problem for at least fifteen minutes before slumping over and stopped breathing. Officer Bleichwehl attempted to give CPR to Williams, but failed to resuscitate Williams.
Chief Flynn has placed three of the officers in administrative duty until the outcome of Williams case. The U.S. Attorney's Office is expected to review, if the officers involved violated Williams civil rights while in custody.
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