Seven MPD officers 'plead the fifth' during inquest into Derek Williams' death

CREATED Feb 13, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - Anger and tears in a Milwaukee County courtroom Wednesday, after more testimony was heard from the family of a man who died in the back of a Milwaukee police car.

It was an emotional day in court, with testimony from Derek Williams’ mother, his girlfriend, and several MPD officers who were at the scene the night Williams died.

Seven Milwaukee police officers were called to the stand, and invoked their fifth amendment, refusing to answer questions.

But officer Zachary Thoms detailed what he saw that night…he was the officer who saw Williams rob two students.

“Mr. Williams put his arms around both and leaned in like he had a gun,” said Thoms.

Thoms stayed with the car while his partner chased Williams. Soon other officers joined the search.

“I heard 'show me your hands,' and 'get down',” said the officer.

Thoms says he was too far away to see what was going on.
But by the time Sharday Rose, Williams' girlfriend, arrived, Williams was in the squad car.

Rose broke down in tears, telling jurors that is when williams collapsed.

Williams mother, Sonya Moore, was horrified at what she saw.

"Half of him was on the curb, his legs were on the street," said Moore.

More of Williams family and police officers are expected to testify Thursday.