Officers present during Derek Williams' death will soon be returned to 'full-duty status'
MILWAUKEE - Special Prosecutor John Franke is expected to speak about his decision Friday not to file state charges against three Milwaukee Police Officers in the case of Derek Williams, the man who died in the back of a squad car. Franke said there wasn't enough evidence to support a case.
Twenty-two-year-old Derek Williams died in July 2011 after gasping for air in the back of a squad car. An inquest jury last month recommended a misdemeanor charge against three officers of failure to render aid.
Franke released his final report Friday. It says the inquest jury found probable cause that an offense was committed, but there wasn't enough evidence for a prosecutor to prove guilt to the stricter standard of beyond reasonable doubt.
“We're very devastated from this decision but the fight is going to continue, even if I have to take it nationwide,” said Sonya Moore, Williams' mother.
The three officers could still face federal criminal charges. The U.S. Attorney's office in Milwaukee has not ruled out charging them.
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn released a statement Friday afternoon, saying -
“I have learned of Judge Franke’s decision to not file charges in connection with the death of Derek Williams. The Milwaukee Police Department cooperated fully with the inquest process and members of our Internal Affairs Division observed the inquest proceedings. No new information was brought to light that would lead us to reopen our original internal investigation. Based on this fact, the officers will soon be returned to full-duty status. The Milwaukee Police Department is committed to the protection of the community and to restoring the trust of those whose confidence was shaken by these events.”
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm released a statement on the decision. He said -
"I respect the decision that John Franke released today. He invested tremendous personal time and resources in conducting this independent and thorough investigation. He did so without compensation and demonstrated why he has always been respected as a committed public servant and a professional. I thank him for accepting the appointment as Special Prosecutor in this difficult matter and ask that the community respect the process he used and the conclusion."
A lot of people have been posting on social media, saying they plan to protest the special prosecutor's decision not to file charges. The protest is taking place near 16th and Wisconsin.