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Milwaukee County Supervisors Respond to Jail Deaths

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors plans to introduce a resolution on Thursday to respond to the four jail deaths that occurred at the county jail in the last six months.

Supervisors Theodore Lipscomb and Moore Omokunde sponsored the resolution, which isn’t binding. However, it applies pressure to Sheriff David Clarke to cooperate with an outside investigation into the deaths.

"There needs to be answers to the constituents, there needs to be answers to Milwaukee County, but there definitely needs to be answers to the families of these individuals that the deaths happened to," said Sequanna Taylor, county board supervisor.

State law requires an outside investigation in deaths that include law enforcement officers, for example, in cases involving an officer involved shooting. However, this doesn't include a jail officer or guard, which means the sheriff's office, is allowed to investigate deaths that happen under its watch.

The board wants to model this resolution to the state law to avoid conflict of interest.

"What I think we can do is come collectively together and to say we need that outside investigation into Milwaukee County. Four deaths by any means is not something that happens just by mistake," Taylor said.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele agrees with the resolution.

"This isn't about right or left, this isn't about liberal or conservative,” Abele said. “It's about just accountability for the decisions we make with public resources and the Sheriff's Department like any other one at the county is paid for by your money and you are right to demand accountability."

If the resolution is approved, the board will still need Sheriff David Clarke's cooperation to start an outside investigation.

Clarke is invited to testify at a judicial committee this Thursday to talk about lawsuits regarding two of the jail deaths, according to the county board's spokesperson Brian Rothgery.

CBS58 reached out to Clarke’s office for a response and didn’t get a response.

Click here to see the resolution.

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