Derek Williams case goes to juryThe inquest into the death of Derek Williams, a Milwaukee man who died in the back of a police car, has gone to its jury.
By: By Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
The inquest into the death of Derek Williams, a Milwaukee man who died in the back of a police car, has gone to its jury.
Derek Williams died nearly two years ago, after police thought he was faking claims about having trouble breathing. Squad car video of Williams dying made national news. Testimony in the inquest over the last 10 days has apparently convinced special prosecutor John Franke not to consider felony changes against some police officers involved in the case. Franke has, however, asked a jury to recommend whether he should charge up to three officers with the misdemeanor of failure to render aid by law enforcement. Franke told jurors this morning that he was not telling them what to decide. On the one hand, Franke says, there's evidence to show the police knew Williams had health problems.
“Does anyone think he suddenly became that way in an instant?” he asked. “Of course not, the officers saw him like that before.”
On the other hand, Franke says, people do suddenly develop severe health problems.
“We do know that people can go from being okay to being in great distress very quickly,” he said.
A jury of two white men, two white women and two African American women is now considering the case. Franke doesn't have to follow the panel's recommendations.