Report: MPD should expand training following Darius Simmons investigation
MILWAUKEE- The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission has released their report into how police handled the shooting death of a 13-year-old boy -- including the decision to keep his mother away from him.
The report says ultimately, the officers didn't violate any department policies. However, it also says they didn't show the compassion they could have, setting off a city-wide firestorm.
Robin Shellow is a prominent Milwaukee attorney who's been following the Darius Simmons case. The case forced the Fire and Police Commission to look into the conduct of the officers involved.
"This town is going to burn, it is at a tipping point," says Shellow.
Simmons was shot and killed by his neighbor John Spooner, who thought the teen had stolen from him. Police held Simmons' mother for questioning as he died in the hospital. They also arrested Simmons' brother at the scene on outstanding warrants, and allowed Spooner's family to remove weapons from his home.
The report says the officers completed a thorough investigation. But it also says they could have been more sensitive to the unique circumstances of the case.
The mother's attorney agrees.
"I think it shows again that there is an institutionalized culture in the Milwaukee Police Department that still has not changed," says attorney Jonathan Safran.
The report concluded officers could have interviewed Simmons' mother later, without compromising the integrity of the investigation. It also says officers didn't need to detain Simmons' brother for 10 hours away from his grieving family. And the weapons taken out of Spooner's home would usually be inventoried, instead of handed over to his family.
Milwaukee's Police Department released a statement, saying in part: "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 (Simmons') mother as they could have been."
Ultimately, the report suggests the department review its methods and expand its training. The mother's attorney says it's good the problem is recognized, but the family wants to see some action.