Squad car death inquest will help prosecutors decide if charges should be filed

CREATED Feb 11, 2013

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  • Video by wtmj.com


MILWAUKEE - This inquest into Derek William’s death will help prosecutors decide if charges should be filed.

During jury selection, some jurors asked to be dismissed because the video of Williams in the squad car was too disturbing.

"It's a tough video, I've said from the beginning. It's one of the worst things I 've seen," said William’s family attorney, Jonathan Safran.

Williams was handcuffed and held in the back of a Milwaukee police squad car in July 2011 after being arrested for a possible burglary.

"On behalf of the family, and I think for the community, it 's good that it has finally started," Safran said.

The community jumped to action after William's death, which was first ruled a natural death, and later changed to a homicide.

There were protests, rallies, and cries for Chief Ed Flynn to step down because of William's death.

"Looking forward to hearing the evidence to get a better idea about what happened," Safran said.

This inquest is a little different than a regular jury.

The 6 jurors will return a verdict---but it is an advisory decision, which means the DA doesn't necessarily have to follow the jury's decision.

Judge Kevin Martens 9:49:14-19 "The verdict that the jury might render, while important, is not the final result," said Judge Kevin Mertens.

The medical examiner was the first to testify. The inquest is expected to last a week.