Back in July 2011, Derek Williams died in Milwaukee Police Department ("MPD") custody. At first, the Milwaukee County medical examiner ruled that Mr. Williams died of "natural causes." After the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel obtained a copy of a video showing Mr. Williams in the back of an MPD squad car struggling to breathe and asking MPD officers for assistance, the medical examiner reviewed the video, along with all the police reports from the incident, and then changed his ruling regarding Mr. Williams' death to "homicide."
Now, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm has requested an inquest into the death of Derek Williams. Former Milwaukee County judge and assistant United States Attorney John Franke will serve as the special prosecutor for the inquest, which will begin on February 11, 2013 and is expected to last about one week. During the inquest, Mr. Franke will call witnesses and present evidence to a six-person jury, who will then render an advisory opinion as to whether criminal charges should be brought against the MPD officers involved in Mr. Williams' death.
The civil rights lawyers of Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. represent the three young children of Derek Williams. Milwaukee personal injury attorney Jonathan Safran has been communicating with Mr. Franke and will attend the inquest. We hope that the inquest will be an important step in obtaining justice for Mr. Williams' family.
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