Medical examiner explains homicide ruling in Derek Williams' death

CREATED Sep. 27, 2012 - UPDATED: Sep. 27, 2012

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MILWAUKEE- The Milwaukee County medical examiner is explaining why he changed the cause of death of Derek Williams from natural causes to homicide.

Williams died while in Milwaukee police custody last year.  Squad video shows him gasping for air and begging for help.

"Because other people were involved it technically fits our definition of homicide as death by the hands of others," explained Dr. Brian Peterson.

He did not perform the original autopsy, but he made the final decision.

"(Assistant Medical Examiner) Dr. Poulos brought it to me.  It was receiving press attention and thought there was something more here," said Dr. Peterson.

Dr. Peterson says after looking over the police report, it became clear that Williams did not die of natural causes.

TODAY'S TMJ4's Jermont Terry: "Did the officers kill him in a deliberate way?"
Dr. Peterson: "No they did not."
TODAY'S TMJ4's Jermont Terry: "Did his death occur due to interaction with the officers?"
Dr. Peterson: "I think it did."

The new ruling gives Williams' mom hope.

"I just want justice," said Sonja Moore.  "And when I say justice I'm about to get it."

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm reopened the Derek Williams case after Dr. Peterson changed Williams' cause of death from natural causes to homicide.

Meanwhile, people from the Milwaukee community are gathering to discuss concerns about the Derek Williams case.

Around 200 people -- including Williams' mother -- are expected to come together at 76th and Good Hope Thursday evening.

That disturbing squad video will be played on a big screen and organizers will listen to concerns about how this investigation play out.