Special prosecutor wants more time in Derek Williams inquest

the WTMJ News Team

Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Special prosecutor wants more time in Derek Williams inquest

CREATED Oct. 15, 2012 - UPDATED: Oct. 16, 2012

MILWAUKEE - A special prosecutor has asked for a delay in an inquest into the death of Derek Williams has been scheduled to begin Tuesday.

Special prosecutor John Franke, a former state judge, was to begin interviewing witnesses about the night Williams died in police custody.

TODAY'S TMJ4's Jermont Terry reports that Franke is asking for time to consult with the U.S. Attorney, and is asking for a status hearing in three weeks.

He explained that he has a large number of witnesses.

Williams' family considers the public inquest a step towards justice while experts say it's just part of the process.

Maleen Jordan is the great aunt of Derek Williams.  Williams was the robbery suspect who died while in Milwaukee police custody last summer.  But just this year the medical examiner changed the cause of death from natural causes to a homicide.

"If they're covering up my nephew's murder or killing, how many more are they (Milwaukee police) covering up," asks Jordan.  "The first ruling truly wasn't right so when he came with the second ruling, the homicide, that was the right one."

That ruling prompted the feds to look into the death, and an independent inquest by the county to determine if the officers involved committed a crime.

The Journal Sentinel reports that in the past 25 years, not one Milwaukee County inquest jury has recommended charges against a Milwaukee police officer involved in a fatal shooting or in-custody death.

Former federal prosecutor and Newsradio 620 WTMJ personality Jeff Wagner says this inquest is simply a protocol.

"Whatever verdict comes out, its just an advisory verdict so it's not binding," said Wagner.  "People shouldn't put too much hope that there's going to be charges that come directly out of this."

Over the past seven days, the Milwaukee Police Department took a lot of heat from the community, city leaders and the feds.

From the billboards demanding those abused by Milwaukee police come forward, to the city wide petition to remove Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn -- there's no question Milwaukee police are under the microscope.

However, Chief Flynn's insists he won't step down.  But the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission plans to address policy changes in response to the death of Derek Williams.