John Doe investigation into Mental Health Complex death begins

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- An open John Doe investigation into the death of Brandon Johnson began Monday, March 4th. 25-year-old Johnson died inside the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex.

This John Doe investigation is open to the public. Usually, these investigations occur behind closed doors, as officials subpoena witnesses to find out whether anyone should be charged criminally. This time, the public can hear what happened and Johnson's family is eager to learn more facts.

In the early morning hours of October 3rd, 2012, a neighbor called Milwaukee police after seeing Johnson on his doorstep with his arms outstretched and drooling.

A short time later, Johnson's mother also called and told police her son needed help. When officers tried to take him to a police wagon, a Milwaukee police officer who was there testified Johnson laid face down on the stairs. The officer said police gently dragged Johnson to the floor, handcuffed him and physically carried him out.

Once inside the mental health facility, the assistant district attorney told the judge Johnson began calling for help. He was on the floor of his room and said he couldn't feel his legs -- that he needed to go to a hospital.

A doctor determined Johnson had a psychological problem, not a physical one, and Johnson stayed at the complex for three days -- before Johnson died.

An autopsy shows Johnson had a broken neck injury that caused blood clots, leading to his death.

Johnson's family says the young man's mother visited her son and asked for help as well, but they got none.

"Brandon was saying 'mom, my chest. Mom, I can't walk or feel my legs.'  She ran out and got a nurse. She said 'my son says his chest is hurting.' She was rubbing his hands and they would go right back. That's a sign of paralysis. They left him to suffer. My son suffered in that facility. They killed my son. They killed him, and I trusted these people with my son," Johnson's family said.

This hearing is expected to last for three days, and it will be up to the judge to determine whether anyone is guilty of a crime in this case.

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