MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- An inquest jury got the case in the inquest into the death of Derek Williams around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 20th. The jury is currently deliberating, and a verdict could be reached at any time.
FOX6 News has a crew at the courthouse in downtown Milwaukee monitoring the deliberations. We will provide any updates as they become available!
The inquest jury of six must decide whether three Milwaukee police officers committed a crime in the death of Derek Williams. The jury must unanimously recommend whether charges should be filed against the officers.
A special prosecutor told an inquest judge on Tuesday Milwaukee police officers involved in the death of Derek Williams will not face a felony charge. However, the special prosecutor says he is considering giving the jury a possible misdemeanor charge to consider: failure to render aid.
The jury will provide a recommendation to the special prosecutor, who will then determine whether any charges are necessary.
A critical piece of evidence in this case is the videotape of Williams in the backseat of a Milwaukee police squad car on July 6th of 2011. Williams -- just arrested as a robbery suspect after a police chase, is seen gasping for air and asking for help.
Based on evidence like this and more than a week of testimony, the jury must recommend if charges should be filed against three officers: Richard Ticcioni, who arrested Williams and took him to the squad, and officers Jason Bleichwell and Jeffrey Cline, who were in the squad at times.
The special prosecutor on Wednesday presented both arguments for and against charging.
"Check the airways, check the breathing, check the circulation. ABC. That's all they had to do. As they put him in the squad car in the condition you saw in the video -- if they had done it, medical help would have been summoned much earlier, unless through the ABC's they would have relieved his stress. They didn't do it and they knew it. From the video you can hear the continued cries for help," John Franke said.
Then, in the role of an unbiased presenter of evidence, Franke, the special prosecutor, made an argument for not charging. For the charge, the jury would have to believe the officers knew Williams needed medical help and that if he didn't get it, he would suffer harm.
"This is not a case where there was no aide. You have to decide whether they are criminally responsible for not getting aide earlier. We can look at a lot of 911 calls and look at whether someone should have made that call earlier," Franke said.
The jury is also charged with coming up with a cause of death. The Medical Examiner said Williams' death was due to Sickle cell crisis. Other experts testified Williams' death is undetermined.
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