Thursday, March 7, 2013 saw the final day of testimony in the John Doe investigation into the death of Brandon Johnson, who died at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex on October 6, 2012. For three days, Mr. Johnson complained to staff at the Complex that he lost feelings in his legs. Doctors who examined Mr. Johnson at the Complex thought he was faking the paralysis. Psychiatrist Laurence Young performed a brief exam of Mr. Johnson, but did not order any additional tests or alert anyone regarding Mr. Johnson’s complaints of paralysis. Another doctor who examined Mr. Johnson, David Drake, found no signs of spinal injury and determined that Mr. Johnson’s complaints of paralysis were unfounded. After being at the Complex for only three days, Mr. Johnson died from blood clots caused by complications due to a broken neck.
Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Conen, who presided over the open-court John Doe investigation into Brandon Johnson’s death, stated that a decision on whether any of the Complex staff should face criminal charges for the death of Mr. Johnson should come in about 60 days. The decision on whether to issue criminal charges will be made jointly by Judge Conen and prosecutors from the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office. Read more about the John Doe investigation in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here.
The civil rights lawyers of Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. represent the parents of Brandon Johnson. SKS Attorney Jonathan S. Safran told the Journal Sentinel that Brandon Johnson’s death is comparable to the death of Derek Williams, who died in Milwaukee Police Department custody in June 2011. “The public and media have seen two situations where an individual who was not able to care for himself, who was crying out for help, who expressed emergency needs and was disregarded in both situations.” Attorney Safran said. We also represent the three young children of Derek Williams, along with their mother. We will do our best to see that there is justice and accountability for the deaths of Brandon Johnson and Derek Williams.