Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. Milwaukee personal injury lawyers represents Patricia Larry, the mother of 13-year-old Darius Simmons, who was shot and killed by a 75-year-old neighbor who had accused Darius of stealing from him. After the shooting on May 31, 2012, the Milwaukee Police Department ("MPD") kept Ms. Larry, who witnessed the tragedy, in a squad car for an unreasonable amount of time while police officers investigated the crime. As a result of being held in the squad car, Ms. Larry was unable to go with her son to the hospital or become aware of his medical condition and death, and she instead had to communicate with relatives by telephone in an attempt to obtain information regarding her son. Members of the community have criticized the MPD for their allegedly insensitive dealings with Darius’ family during the investigation. MPD Chief Ed Flynn claims that the department's investigative procedures at the crime scene had to be followed. He also commented at a subsequent press conference that "six months from now, when our detectives are on the witness stand, no one’s going to care how compassionate they were at the scene."
On July 12, 2012, at Rufus King High School, the City of Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission ("FPC") held a meeting which was supposed to address concerns regarding the manner in which MPD dealt with Darius' family at the crime scene. Prior to the meeting, the FPC indicated that "community members will be allowed to voice their comments during a structured listening session before the citizen board." Following a brief statement where he defended the police officers' investigation, Chief Flynn left the meeting without taking questions or listening to the concerns of community members. City of Milwaukee officials expressed dismay that the Chief left the meeting. "This was a tremendous opportunity I believe we just missed," Alderman Ashanti Hamilton said.
After Chief Flynn left, Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. attorney Jonathan S. Safran addressed the meeting, telling the FPC that Ms. Larry was kept in the squad car for almost two hours, and that she consented to a search of her home only so that she could get to the hospital sooner to be with her son. "Ms. Larry believes that compassion should be paramount and she would expect it from professional police officers," Attorney Safran said.
Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. Milwaukee personal injury attorneys are concerned with the MPD's treatment of Darius' family at the crime scene and with the fact that Chief Flynn left the FPC meeting without listening to citizen concerns and questions. While we acknowledge that the MPD must interview witnesses to a crime, common sense and decency should have prevailed to allow Ms. Larry to go to the hospital to be with her son. It would appear that the shooter was in police custody, and he had admitted to shooting Darius. We believe that it always matters that people believe, when interacting with the police, that they will be treated with dignity, respect and compassion. We will continue to update information about this case as it proceeds.
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