As previously reported here, the Wisconsin legislature is currently considering a bill that would require all deaths in police custody to be investigated by an outside agency. City of Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission Executive Director Michael Tobin has testified at a public hearing regarding the bill. While Mr. Tobin’s testimony was allegedly for informational purposes only, State Representative Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay), the author of the bill, stated that Mr. Tobin sounded like he opposed the bill. Following Mr. Tobin’s testimony, City of Milwaukee Director of Intergovernmental Relations Jennifer Gonda Birnbaum sent an e-mail to the Wisconsin State Senate Committee on Transportation, Public Safety, and Veterans where she indicated that the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett do not oppose the bill.
Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. represents the three young children of Derek Williams, along with their mother. Mr. Williams died in Milwaukee Police Department (“MPD”) custody back in July 2011. Video from the incident shows Mr. Williams in the back of an MPD squad car struggling to breathe and begging MPD officers for help. We hope that the proposed bill on police custody deaths becomes law in Wisconsin, so that there can be justice and accountability for deaths in police custody.