Derek Williams inquest opens Monday
The WTMJ News Team
Photo: Video by tmj4.com
CREATED Feb. 10, 2013 - UPDATED: Feb. 10, 2013
MILWAUKEE - The family of a Milwaukee man who died while in police custody will finally get their day in court.
This week, a jury will decide if officers should be criminally charged for Derek Williams' death.
Williams' family has been seeking answers ever since his death in July 2011.
"It's one thing for your child to die," Williams' aunt, Maeleen Jordan, says. "That's painful. But, for your child to be murdered, especially in the hands of those who are to protect and serve, it's unreal."
The Milwaukee Police Department, the District Attorney's office and the Fire and Police Commission all looked at the video and concluded the officers did nothing wrong. The case was reopened after a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel investigation uncovered new information about the case and released the distressing video of Williams' dying.
An independent prosecutor was appointed to take another look.
"I want the review to be untainted by any of our previous findings or conclusions," Milwaukee County DA John Chisolm says.
Former Milwaukee County Judge John Franke will lead the inquest. Six jurors will issue an advisory verdict. It will then be up to Franke to deterimine if the officers should be charged. Whatever the outcome, Chief Ed Flynn says the case has already had an impact on the police department.
"Certainly in this incident, we learned we need more thorough and effective training on signs of medical distress in handcuffed prisoners."
The FBI is also conducting a criminal civil rights investigation.