October 1, 2014

Jury recommends charges in MPD custody death

An inquest jury in Milwaukee has recommended criminal charges against three Milwaukee police officers in the death of Derek Williams. The jurors ruling is not binding, since the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office will make the final decision. The charges were recommended against officers Richard Ticcioni, Jason Bleichwehl, and Jeffrey Cline.

After hearing over a week of testimony, the jury agreed with special prosecutor John Franke’s suggestion that the three men be charged with misdemeanor counts of failing to render aid by law enforcement.

The 22-year-old Williams died in a police squad car, soon after he was arrested for a street robbery in 2011. A video released last year showed that Williams had trouble breathing and collapsed. The inquest jury said there was probable cause that Williams died from sickle-cell crisis, after running a block-and-a-half to avoid arrest.

Testimony revealed that Ticcioni placed a knee on Williams’ back during the arrest – and that Bleichwehl and Cine were in the squad car as Williams gasped for air.