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Flynn, Chisholm calling for outside investigation into MPD custody death

Flynn, Chisholm calling for outside investigation into MPD custody death

By WTMJ News Team. CREATED Sep 24, 2012 - UPDATED: Sep 24, 2012

MILWAUKEE- New video of a man who died in police custody has the Milwaukee County district attorney re-opening the case.

Back in July 2011, a squad camera captured Derek Williams complaining he could not breathe.

Originally, the medical examiner's report said he died of natural causes, but now the medical examiner's office says it was homicide.

Milwaukee police officers arrested Williams, a burglary suspect.

Officer: "What's your last name?"
Derek Williams:
"I can't breathe."
Officer:
"You're breathing just fine."
Derek Williams:
"Sir...(inaudible)...Sir"
Officer:
"What's your last name?"
Derek Williams:
"(no response)"
Officer:
"What's your last name?"
Derek Williams:
"I can't breathe."
Officer:
"Well...(inaudible)...you're just playing games."

Gasping for air, Williams kept begging for the officers to help.  Eight minutes later he passed out.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said Monday that he is ordering a public inquest into the death of Derek Williams.

"I will seek an independent prosecutor outside of the office to review the case," said Chisholm.  "I want the review to be untainted by any our previous findings."

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said that he endorsed Chisholm's order.

"Milwaukee's Police Department completely endorses the decision by Mr. Chisholm, and I pledge our complete cooperation in this investigation."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the Milwaukee Common Council are demanding the U.S attorney to look into this case.

"There's no question it's a very disturbing video," said Barrett.  "Given the way this incident has transpired, I think it's prudent to have the U.S. attorney's office come in with a fresh set of eyes and look at this as well.  I want there to be transparency."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the medical examiner's decision came after the newspaper alerted an assistant medical examiner to newly released records -- including a video of a suffocating Derek Williams pleading for help from the back of a squad car.

Click here to watch the squad car video