Derek Williams died in the back of a Milwaukee Police squad car. As he struggled to breathe, two officers spent time in the vehicle. They heard him say he couldn’t breathe and they ignored him. He lost consciousness and they didn’t call for medical assistance until four minutes later. His breathing difficulties are thought to have stemmed from one of the officers kneeling into his back as he lay prone on the pavement. But according to state and now federal officials, the officers did nothing wrong. [Read more…]Charged with a crime in Wisconsin? Please call (888) 828-6041.
Local outrage and national media attention may lead to positive changes within the ranks of the Milwaukee Police Department. According to the Journal Sentinel, the department announced changes to their existing search policy and an emphasis on existing standards that weren’t taken very seriously in years past. The changes will hopefully keep officers in check while potentially rebuilding some lost community trust. [Read more…]
Plea agreements are usually thought of as a compromise between the state (prosecutor) and the defendant (accused of a crime). They are a middle ground, where the defendant agrees to admit or partially admit to some or all of the charges against them in exchange for a lenient sentence or the dropping of some charges. Frequently, however, plea agreements undermine justice.
Many people, including a Milwaukee city alderman, are calling foul on a plea agreement made with still-current Milwaukee police officer Michael Vagnini. The issue of contention is that he was able to plead no contest to several different charges in exchange for avoiding convictions for sexual assault. [Read more…]
Criminal justice writer Radley Balko, formerly of Reason Magazine and now writing for the Huffington Post, has undertaken a big project—highlighting “botched” police raids every single day for the next several months. And one of his posts on the “Raid of the Day” happened to touch some lives in our state.
A camera caught former police officer Richard Schoen punching citizen Jeanine Tracy. It showed him punch her in the face, drag her from the squad car in which she was handcuffed, and knee her in the stomach. The footage was a piece of evidence in the Fire and Police Commission meeting that would ultimately give Schoen his walking papers, but only after a bit of an uproar. [Read more…]
While some states are moving forward, spurred by budgetary constraints to make progressive changes in criminal justice policies, other states lag behind, holding tightly to the “tough on crime” mentality. While Wisconsin is historically of the latter group, advocates are hoping a recently released study from California-based Human Impact Partners will be the push lawmakers need to see that change can be good. [Read more…]
A report into how Milwaukee police are using their automatic license plate scanning technology demonstrates exactly how much data police are collecting on every car on the road, the vast majority of whom are regular citizens not wanted for any reason, suspected of any criminal charge. [Read more…]
A twenty-two year old man died in the back of a Milwaukee police squad car last summer. His case has been at the front and center of many peoples’ minds, and is being thrust back into the spotlight this week after the medical examiner revisited its ruling on the cause of death—changing it from “natural” to “homicide.” [Read more…]
Earlier this summer, we blogged about an investigation by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel into the local police departments underreporting of assaults. Now, the Sentinel is reporting the department’s problems are even deeper—with rapes and robberies being classified as less serious offenses, throwing off any measure of the true crime rate of the city. [Read more…]