“They haven’t forgotten:” Federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Derek Williams’ estate, children

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MILWAUKEE -- Exactly five years after his death in police custody, the family of Derek Williams filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday, July 6th. It claims nearly a dozen different officers are responsible for Williams' death.

Sharday Rose

Sharday Rose

"They haven't forgotten. There's people that come to me all the time asking what's going on with the case," said Sharday Rose, the mother of Williams' children.

The lawsuit is on behalf of Sharday Rose and the three children she and Williams had together.

Williams, 22, was arrested on July 6, 2011 for an attempted robbery. Squad car video recorded Williams' final moments. He struggled to breathe while handcuffed in the back seat of a squad car -- and could be seen in the video pleading for medical help.

Derek Williams in back of police squad

Derek Williams in back of police squad

In February 2013, a special inquest jury recommended misdemeanor charges for three of the officers involved in this case for failing to render aid. The next month, the special prosecutor announced he would not file any charges.

In June 2013, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission declined to discipline any of the officers.

Milwaukee police officials have declined to comment on this lawsuit since it is pending litigation. The office of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett referred FOX6 News to the city attorney's office which declined to comment -- also because it is pending litigation.

groupThe Williams family attorney says a lack of accountability leaves a lawsuit as the only alternative -- one that could end up costing city taxpayers.

"The city could choose to either get insurance if this is the practice they're going to continue to have -- or they could choose to make the changes so we don't have to keep coming here to have these press conferences," said Jonathan Safran, Williams family attorney.

Williams' death is also one of the incidents that led to a new Wisconsin law passed in 2014. It states an outside agency must come in to investigate police-involved deaths.

CLICK HERE to review Derek Williams stories from the past


  • Mark

    In almost every case such as this one I agree with what you’re saying, but I do think this was a death by negligence on the officers. Regardless if this was a common criminal or not, the family in this case deserves to be awarded…. how much isn’t up to me to decide. End result is this guy should not have died in the back of that squad car.

    • Chattipatti65

      Mark, he just got out of jail, and was trying to rob someone else, had he went home and sat his butt down, he may still be alive. When will it end, I grew up in Milwaukee and had a good childhood, now its horrible, and should he have died (God only knows) but he had no business trying to rob someone. The victim should go after the family for emotional distress.

  • Chrisco

    How many times have those officers heard that from someone trying stay out of jail for a few hours.

  • Dylan

    Estate what a joke..how much money did he have saved..how many baby mommas are there.I am sure he had huge 401k’s ..a college degree with awesome earning potential…really. I am sure they are looking for more handouts…didn’t he have a “record” refresh the communities memory please…really his estate…lol


    Looks like Tom Barrett will have to raise taxes after this one, welcome to friendly Milwaukee.

  • Moe Green

    Got’s to start charging the welfare multiple baby mom’s some fee’s for all the felon dey be putting out. Court system can only handle so much revolving door hoodlums. Da working taxpayers can’t handle any lottery tax, they should put’s a g-note tax on each ghetto rim over 20 inches.

  • Hillary is a HE-devil!!

    Typical lazy LIBTARDS wanting MORE free handouts from DA Guvmint!! You waste of sub human trash should be thanking us WORKING AND TAX PAYING Conservatives for all your free handouts,you know all the Libtard politicians you elect,don’t give you a penny.

  • Libsareliars

    So let me see if I have this correct. The dude and his girlfriend Miss Rose had 3 children together and instead of him being at home raising his kids or by all means having a job to support these kids is instead going out trying to commit robbery? Another example of the black community screaming racism or they are not being treated fairly. Maybe if you got off your lazy butts and made something out of yourselves instead of playing the race card people might respect you!!!!

    • Chattipatti65

      Could not have said it better myself. I work for everything I have and they should also. I don’t see anything changing soon :(

    • Stan

      Well said! Is there an actual recording of what he was screaming and yelling about in the squad car? or is it an assumption…..maybe they can read lips?

  • Mary

    I agrees with libs statement. I wonder if she’ll teach her children not to be armed robbers like your dad or will the cycle continue.

  • Libsareliars

    First of all Shonnie I am not a business owner. I work for the man. Secondly lets stay on the topic at hand here. I constantly see you on here with the same garbage about the percentage of blacks verses whites on welfare. Yes there are white people on welfare and having kids on the taxpayer dime. The difference is you don’t see the amount of protesters from whites as blacks because they feel they are being mistreated. The fact is this guy was pumping out kids and instead of being a proper father and being there for the kids is out committing a crime. It is time for you and everyone else to stop playing the blame game.

  • Tessio

    Ditch the trolley and buy a few thousand police robots to patrol the streets and keep the miscreants from infecting other areas.

  • Ghetto gold diggers

    They haven’t “Forgotten” eh? Funny, they seem to have “Forgotten” him real well prior to his death and he was homeless and sleeping in the park. I guess the prospect of more “money” makes people memorable, doesn’t it?

Comments are closed.