Inquest into Derek Williams' Death Begins Monday


by Elizabeth Fay

MILWAUKEE -- The inquest into Derek Williams' death began Monday. Williams, 22, died in the back of a Milwaukee Police Department squad car in July 2011. The jury tasked with deciding if any crimes were committed in Williams' death has been chosen.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office initially ruled his death a homicide until dash cam video was realeased and his death was changed to homicide, meaning "death at the hands of another," not necessiarly criminal.

The six jurors are responsible for guiding Special Prosecutor John Franke as he considers criminally charging Milwaukee Police Officers with Williams' death.

"The question will be whether the jury gets medical evidence to support what the cause of death was and when indeed officers could have done something to change that," says Williams' family attorney, John Safran.

Starting monday,  Franke will present evidence and call any witnesses, family as well as medical and law enforcement experts to the stand.

"It will be interesting to see which of those officers provide testimony or if indeed officers refuse to testify and whether they assert their 5th ammendment right."

Unlike a trail, there is no cross examination or competing testimony allowed. That means Williams' family members and their attorney must sit back and watch the proceedings unfold. unless they're called to testify.

The Milwaukee Police Department was contacted for comment but CBS 58 did not hear back. Chief Ed Flynn has said he supports airing the facts of the case as well as stepping up training for cops to recognize medical distress.


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