Federal prosecutors won’t pursue charges against officers in Derek Williams caseFederal prosecutors won’t pursue criminal civil rights charges against the white Milwaukee police officers involved in the Derek Williams case.
By: By Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Federal prosecutors won’t pursue criminal civil rights charges against the white Milwaukee police officers involved in the Derek Williams case.
Derek Williams, a 22-year-old black man, passed away after telling the officers he couldn’t breathe. The officers had told the robbery suspect to quit faking his medical problems. Squad car video of Williams becoming unconscious drew national attention. Milwaukee-based U.S. Attorney James Santelle says the video was disturbing to watch.
“However, the evidence does not establish that the video duplicates what the officers themselves actually saw in the back of the squad car that evening,” he said.
Santelle says an infrared camera captured the images in low light, but he argues it can’t be shown that was the vantage point of the officers. Santelle says overall the case doesn’t show that the officers willfully or unreasonably deprived Williams of his constitutional rights.
Williams’s mother, Sonya Moore, tearfully told reporters that the prosecutors were too soft on the police department.
“Everybody should stop being friends and do their damn job,” she said. “Because not everybody’s doing their job. They’re not doing a thorough investigation like they said they would.”
Attorney Jonathan Safran, who represents the mother of Williams’s children, says the case probably isn't over.
“I believe anyone who saw and heard the video will feel that there was a willful disregard of getting medical attention for Derek Williams,” he said. “Despite what infrared camera there might have been, despite what people might have been able to see, we at least all heard it.”
Safran says he might have to file a civil lawsuit to try to hold someone accountable for Derek Williams’s death.