MPD didn't violate procedures during Darius Simmons homicide investigation, says report

CREATED Oct. 5, 2012 - UPDATED: Oct. 5, 2012

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MILWAUKEE- The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission has concluded that Milwaukee's Police Department didn't violate any rules, procedures or policies during the homicide investigation of 13-year-old Darius Simmons.

The commission released a 10-page report on Friday following community concerns surrounding the investigation.

Simmons, a black teen, was allegedly murdered by his white neighbor, 75-year-old John Spooner, in front of Simmons' home at 1905 W. Arrow Street at 9:48 a.m. on May 31.

Community members raised four issues in Milwaukee police's subsequent investigation: The interview of Ms. Larry (Simmons' mother); The search of Ms. Larry's residence; The arrest and detention of Darius Simmons' brother; The disposition of Mr. Spooner's personal property and search of his residence.

Ms. Larry was kept at the crime scene for an hour and a half while her son was dying at the hospital.  She was unable to see her son before he died.

According to the report, "There were no rules, policies, or procedures that were violated by members of MPD as it pertains to the four areas of community concern reviewed in this report."

The report suggested that MPD should review the methods in which investigative personnel are allocated to the scene of an active homicide investigation.

Additionally, "MPD should evaluate establishing a Standard Operating Instruction (SOI) for
homicide investigations."

Finally, "MPD should review and significantly expand the existing training regimen pertaining to cultural awareness and general interpersonal communication."

Milwaukee police released a statement following the report, saying:

"The Milwaukee Police Department hears the community's concerns over the procedures used during the investigation of the homicide of Darius Simmons. We recognize that sometimes professional duty can appear to trump compassion, and that even though investigators were doing justice to the victim, they were not as attentive to the needs of Darius' mother as they could have been. Police officers and detectives are proud to protect an extraordinarily diverse city. Our homicide detectives have an unmatched record of success in solving the murders of victims from every segment of our community. The members of the Milwaukee Police department remain committed to excellence and to continual improvement and accept the findings of the Fire and Police Commission in that spirit."