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No criminal charges to be filed in Brandon Johnson death

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The results of a John Doe investigation into the death of 25-year-old Brandon Johnson were released on Thursday, June 13th. The report indicates no criminal charges will be filed in the case.

Jonathan Safran represents the family of Johnson and broke the news to them.

"I'm not even sure I can come up with the words how upset they are," said Safran. "The mother was literally distraught. Father equally upset. Both of them hoping there would be accountability. And those responsible for the death of their son would be held criminally liable."

Johnson died of a pulmonary embolism while a patient at the Milwaukee County Mental Health facility in October 2012. Johnson was admitted to the Mental Health Complex after his family says he had an emotional breakdown.

The report released Thursday says, "In the many instances where Brandon told doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners that he was paralyzed and could not move, it appears the health care providers were neglectful because they believed he was not really paralyzed. They believed his paralysis was in his head. It seems the reasonable thing to do would be to take Brandon to a hospital to attempt to discover physical causes for his claims of paralysis. It’s clear no one at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex took his claims as valid. The testimony in the John Doe shows that everyone believed that Brandon was psychosomatic in his claims."

The report also says, "There should have been more effort to check out Brandon’s claim of paralysis. This was not done, but the actions of those who heard Brandon’s claim of paralysis at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex do not rise to a point of intent to harm Brandon."

In the end, the report indicates, "There is nothing in the record of the John Doe or police reports that indicate any health care provider at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex was acting with intent to harm Brandon Johnson or in bad faith with knowledge their actions were harming him. It appears there may be negligence of numerous people at the Mental Health Complex for not having Brandon’s complaints of paralysis checked out at a hospital, but no one can be said to have acted in bad faith."

The Johnson family may now file a civil lawsuit. But before that happens, Safran says there's another avenue -- the federal level.

"I am trying to get a determination from the U.S. Attorney's Office as to whether they think that there is the potential for them also looking at this from a federal standpoint," said Safran.

CLICK HERE to read more about the Brandon Johnson case

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