Federal judge declines to throw out civil rights claims in case of man who died in MPD custody in 2011

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MILWAUKEE — A federal judge has declined to throw out civil rights claims made by the family of a man who died in Milwaukee police custody in 2011.

USA Today Network-Wisconsin reports that U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller ruled Friday that a reasonable jury could find police officers’ conduct caused the death of 22-year-old Derek Williams.

Williams died July 6, 2011, after struggling to breathe while handcuffed in the back seat of a squad car. His family last year filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city and the officers involved. The trial is scheduled for Aug. 28.

Attorneys for the city argued that it was objectively reasonable for the officers involved to disregard Williams’ pleas for help. Flint Taylor, an attorney for the family, says he’s pleased with the judge’s decision.