Flynn expresses understanding of uproar over death in police custody

CREATED Sep 26, 2012

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  • Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn

MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee's police chief says he understands that's he has work to do to gain back the community's trust.

"This is a big issue," admitted Chief Ed Flynn on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Midday with Charlie Sykes," responding to outrage over the case of Derek Williams.

He died in Milwaukee Police custody more than a year ago.  The death was originally ruled due to natural causes. 

At the time, police refused to make public video that showed Williams pleading for help while cuffed in the back of a squad. 

"The viewing of this video is, to the average person, extraordinarily disturbing," said Flynn.

"A lot of folks are troubled by this, and concerned that it's indicative that the police department is somehow callous about or uncaring about their needs or concerns."

Now that the video has been released, and the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's office has changed the cause of death to homicide. 

"It's clear that our training was insufficient, and our policy was insufficient to the medical crisis that presented itself to an officer who did not respond rapidly enough."

Flynn says they have already made changes to the department's training.