Home / News / Expresso / Issue of the Week: Will Derek Williams’ Family Get Justice?

Issue of the Week: Will Derek Williams’ Family Get Justice?

Plus: Hero of the Week

Apr. 3, 2013
Google plus Linkedin Pinterest
Derek Williams
Milwaukeeans were shocked and appalled when video surfaced of Derek Williams gasping for breath and pleading for his life in the back of a Milwaukee police squad car in July 2011.

There were plenty of officers on the scene when Williams died, but they all ignored him begging for help until it was too late.

Tragically, none of those officers will be held accountable in a Milwaukee County court for their actions.

Although an inquest jury recommended that three Milwaukee police officers should be charged with misdemeanors for failing to help Williams while he was so clearly in distress, special prosecutor John Franke said last week that he would not charge any police in the case because he didn’t think the officers would be convicted.

The officers directly involved in arresting and monitoring Williams while in custody declined to testify during the inquest, so Williams’ family and the community weren’t able to hear from them what, exactly, happened when they allegedly chased Williams, forced him to the ground, put a knee into his back and dragged him to the squad car.

Despite their silence, we believe that enough testimony came out during the inquest to warrant a jury trial.

Now it’s up to federal prosecutors to decide if the police should face charges and give Williams’ family some sort of justice.

But no matter what federal prosecutors may decide, they cannot override what we all saw when we watched the squad video.

The police should have helped Derek Williams in the final minutes of his life.

Their actions may not be criminal, but they certainly aren’t right.


Heroes of the Week: Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation Employees and Volunteers


Founded in 1987, the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) promotes the economic independence of women, minorities and low-income individuals. With a staff of 38 paid employees and 240 volunteers helping throughout the year, WWBIC offers business workshops on planning, marketing, social media, designing websites, accounting and more, with its most strongly recommended program being the “Start Smart: Business Planning Series.” The organization also offers business loans up to $100,000. With offices in Milwaukee, Madison, Kenosha and Racine, WWBIC holds 375 workshops annually statewide and touches the lives of about 4,000 clients each year. A few of the many businesses that have benefited from WWBIC include Purple Door Ice Cream, Wolf Peach, Hi Hat Lounge/Garage, Eva’s Bridal Center, Miss Cupcake Boutique Bakery and Antigua Latin Restaurant.

Anne Michalski, WWBIC project and marketing manager, says the volunteers at WWBIC are vital to the success of their programming. “We have volunteers that are experts in various industries: attorneys, accountants, bankers, entrepreneurs and more that guest-speak, facilitate courses and provide assistance and expert advice to our business owners,” she says. “Without their support and generosity we wouldn’t be able to move at the same fast pace or provide the expert voice to support the opinions and assistance we provide to business owners.”

WWBIC is looking for bilingual volunteers who speak Spanish and Hmong, as well as those with knowledge or expertise in Quickbooks, marketing and branding, business plan reviewing and cash flow/financial projections. Those interested in volunteering should contact Amber Miller at amber.miller@wwbic.com or 414-263-5450. Most courses are free or a minimal $10. To learn more about WWBIC’s business workshops and loan program, visit wwbic.com or call 414-263-5450.


Do you believe President Obama is politicizing tragedies when he brings up gun control in the aftermath of mass shootings?

Getting poll results. Please wait...