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Three Milwaukee police officers to be charged in suspect's death

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Anaheim California police vehicle By Highway Patrol Images (Anahheim Police Dept. Ford Crown Victoria) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Anaheim California police vehicle By Highway Patrol Images (Anahheim Police Dept. Ford Crown Victoria) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

MILWAUKEE (WSAU)  Derek Williams’ family was ecstatic after an inquest jury recommended criminal charges against three Milwaukee police officers suspected of letting Williams die in their custody. His mother, Sonya Moore, said it took a year-and-a-half for an official to recognize that what the police did was wrong. But a police union leader still contends that the officers performed “admirably” and did all they could to save the 22-year-old Williams.

The jury heard more than a week of testimony before asking special prosecutor John Franke yesterday to file misdemeanor counts of failing to render aid while performing law enforcement duties.

Milwaukee officers Richard Ticcioni, Jason Bleichwehl, and Jeffrey Cline face those possible charges. That’s after a police video showed Williams struggling to breathe for at least eight minutes before collapsing in a squad car in 2011. He had just run a block-and-a-half to avoid being nabbed for a street robbery. The inquest said there was probable cause that the 22-year-old Williams died from sickle cell crisis. Before the video came out last year, police officials and prosecutors found that the officers had done nothing wrong.

Cline’s attorney said a lot of the inquest testimony was not cross-examined – and it’s impossible to tell how much of it influenced the jury. She said that if the officers are charged, they’ll probably take the case to trial.

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