MILWAUKEE — Inside a north side coffee shop Sunday evening, October 7th, community organizers and religious leaders again called for Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn to lose his job. This, following the recent criticism over the Milwaukee Police Department’s handling of the death of 22-year-old Derek Williams. Williams died while in police custody in July of 2011.
The group, including the National Field Director of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition is asking for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to fire Chief Flynn and support a sweeping investigation of the Milwaukee Police Department.
“There’s somebody in the city of Milwaukee that’s dodging the heat, and that’s Mayor Barrett. We are calling on Mayor Barret to fix this problem,” one leader said Sunday evening.
Last week, an attorney for Williams’ girlfriend said Chief Flynn should lose his job over the Williams’ case. That request was echoed during a similar town hall meeting last week. The group also demanded the badges of the two MPD officers involved in the Williams’ case, and supported the call for a federal investigation.
“Despite what happened here tonight, I want to commend the police department, because some of the things that were said were not easy to take. We informed Chief Flynn that we expect his removal as the chief of police — either by resignation or termination,” Reverend Steve Jerbi with All Peoples Church said after last week’s town hall meeting.
Flynn has said he will not step down — saying his focus is on his department.
“That’s the last thing I’m worried about quite honestly. I’m worried about the positioning of this police department for maximum service, and I’m not at all worried about my career,” Chief Flynn said.
Williams’ death has sparked controversy after the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner amended his cause of death from Sickle cell trait (natural causes) to homicide (death at the hands of another).
Dashcam video showing Williams in the back of a squad car apparently struggling to breathe has caused outrage among those concerned about civil rights violations. City leaders, faith leaders, attorneys representing Williams’ family and members of the public have called for an investigation into Williams’ death.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney on Tuesday, October 2nd named a special prosecutor to handle an inquest into Williams’ death.
Additionally, last week, FOX6 News learned two MPD officers at the scene when Williams died were also at the scene when at least one suspect was subject to an illegal cavity search by another officer.
An attorney in both the Williams case and the cavity search case is calling for an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“Considering all the issues concerning the department itself and I think, the deterioration of the trust of the department and the chief, it warrants and behooves the Department of Justice to review the department as a whole in regards to whether there has been and continues to be a pattern and practice of civil rights violations that have been continuing and may be continuing to this day,” Attorney Jonathan Safran said.
“We find a pattern, and the pattern is a long-standing pattern in the city of Milwaukee,” Bishop Tavis Grant with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition said.
In addition to the voices calling for Chief Flynn’s job, 72 outdoor billboards have been purchased to advertise calls for reform and action.
CLICK HERE for additional coverage on the Derek Williams’ case via FOX6Now.com.