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Derek Williams Inquest Jury Recommends Charges Against Three Officers

Three Milwaukee police officers could face charges of failing to render aid. An inquest jury on Thursday recommended those charges, related to the death of Derek Williams in summer of 2011. WUWM’s LaToya Dennis was at the Courthouse when the jurors delivered their opinion. It is advisory.

For seven days, the jury listened to testimony about the arrest and death of Derek Williams. He died after gasping for air in the backseat of a squad car and asking for help.

After deliberating for a relatively short time, the jurors agreed police failed to help Williams. Under state law, failure to render aid by a police officer is a misdemeanor offense.

Sharday Rose is the mother of Williams’ three children. While she’s pleased with the jury’s opinion, she wishes it could have considered stricter charges.

“It was reckless, it was very reckless. Ya’ll didn’t give him aid. Ya’ll let him suffer in that backseat and didn’t answer him. Why didn’t ya’ll give him aid when he needed it?” Rose says.

Now the special prosecutor must decide whether to charge the men.

Rose says family and friends want the three officers criminally charged and removed from the force.

This is the first time in a couple decades that an inquest jury recommended charges against police involved in a fatal shooting or in-custody death.

LaToya was a reporter with WUWM from 2006 to 2021.