Source: Officers involved in Derek Williams’ death will NOT be charged
MILWAUKEE (WITI) — A source close to the Derek Williams family told FOX6 News late Wednesday night, March 27th three officers involved in Williams’ death WILL NOT face state charges.
The source told FOX6 News the special prosecutor appointed to the inquest (John Franke) held a meeting with Williams family members Wednesday evening, March 27th in downtown Milwaukee.
The source told FOX6 News the Williams family is extremely hurt by the decision.
The inquest jury in the Derek Williams case reached a verdict in the case on February 21st.
After more than six hours of deliberating, the inquest jury found there was probable cause that three Milwaukee police officers committed the crime of failure to render aid by a law enforcement officer when Williams was struggling to breathe while in police custody. The officers in question are Richard Ticcioni, Jason Bleichwehl and Jeffrey Cline.
Jurors also found there was probable cause that a Sickle cell crisis was the cause of death for Williams in July 2011.
Members of the Williams family appeared to be visibly relieved by the decision of the inquest jury.
“This is somewhat history in the making. It’s been 25 years or more since this type of thing has occurred. So this a momentous occasion in that regard,” said Jonathan Safran, the Williams family attorney. “It’s a sad commentary. It involved police officers who now, this jury has made a recommendation that these types of criminal charges be issued. But it is what they have said.”
The verdict of the inquest jury is only advisory. It is to the special prosecutor, John Franke, to issue a final ruling on whether the three officers will be charged.
22-year-old Williams died in the backseat of a squad car in July 2011 after he was picked up by Milwaukee police officers following a foot chase — suspected of an attempted robbery.
Williams’ death was captured on a squad camera as he struggled to breathe for nearly 15 minutes without help.
A Medical Examiner’s report originally indicated Williams’ cause of death as complications due to Sickle cell trait — but that report was amended, and the cause of death changed to homicide (death at the hands of another). MPD and the Milwaukee County District Attorney concluded the officers involved did not break any rules. However, the two did call for an inquest into the Williams’ case.
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