Milwaukee, WI - Over 150 people took the streets here, Oct. 13, demanding justice for Derek Williams, a young Black man killed by the Milwaukee Police Department.
Originally covered up as a case of sickle cell anemia, protests since then have exposed this as a racist case of police brutality and murder. Williams' death is now seen on camera. Widely circulated on YouTube, Williams, gasping for breath, pleaded for help in the back of a police car for over eight minutes before dying as a police officer is heard saying, "You're breathing just fine," and "You're just playing games."
The spirited march, led by Occupy the Hood, brought in many community organizations and lasted for miles, marching directly down Center Street and past the death site of Williams before going to the notorious Milwaukee Fifth District Police Station. Protesters blocked streets all around the police station while holding a speak-out and prayer.
The group demanded the firing of Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn. The group also demands a real Fire and Police Commission. The current commission, criticized by the NAACP as a "rubber stamp" for police decisions, watched the video of Williams’ death and determined the police didn't do anything wrong.
In addition to the Derek Williams cover-up, two officers involved in the killing have also been part of an investigation regarding illegal cavity searches in Milwaukee's Black community. These officers, Gregory Kuspa and Jeffrey Cline, have now been charged with felonies. In one instance, an officer held a gun to a man's head as two more held his arms and a third choked him while jamming a hand into his anus, supposedly searching for evidence.
Ruthie, a grandmother of Derek Williams, was at the demonstration. "The event today was about justice. Nobody deserves to die like that. This has been going on for years."
A Citizens’ Tribunal will take place Monday, Oct. 22, from 5:30 until 8:00 p.m. at the DNR Building, 2300 N. Martin Luther King Drive.