As previously reported on the Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C.website here, Derek Williams died in Milwaukee Police Department ("MPD") custody in July 2011. Initially, the Milwaukee County medical examiner ruled that Mr. Williams died of "natural causes." After reviewing all the police reports from the incident, and viewing the disturbing video which shows Mr. Williams in the back of an MPD squad car struggling to breathe and asking for help, the medical examiner changed his ruling, and determined that Mr. Williams' death was a "homicide." The Milwaukee County District Attorney, who initially cleared the MPD officers involved in Mr. Williams' death of any wrongdoing, has reopened his investigation, appointed a Special Prosecutor, and has agreed that a public inquest will be held.
On October 10, 2012, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and the FBI Special Agent in charge of the Milwaukee office announced that the FBI will investigate the death of Derek Williams. The United States Attorney will rely upon the FBI investigation to determine whether to bring any federal criminal charges against the MPD officers involved. In addition, the United States Department of Justice is beginning a preliminary inquiry to determine whether it will conduct a complete investigation of the MPD, to see if there is a pattern and practice of civil rights violations committed by MPD officers. Concerned citizens may contact the FBI at (414) 276-4684 to report possible civil rights violations by MPD officers. Read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article about the FBI investigation here.
The civil rights lawyers of Samster,Konkel&Safran,S.C.welcome the FBI investigation into the death of Derek Williams. We represent Mr. Williams' three young children, and we believe that a federal investigation can help bring justice and accountability for Mr. Williams' death. We also believe that the FBI should conduct a complete review of the MPD, so that future civil rights violations can be prevented.