Medical examiner revises suspect's death ruling to homicide

Derek Williams holds his daughter Ta'Nijah Williams, who is now 3. In light of newly released data, the ruling on Williams’ death while in police custody has been revised. Image by Michael Sears

Medical examiner revises suspect's death ruling to homicide

CREATED Sep 23, 2012 - UPDATED: Sep 24, 2012

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee County medical examiner's office has changed its ruling in the case of a man who died in Milwaukee police custody last year from natural to homicide.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the decision came after the newspaper alerted an assistant medical examiner to newly released records -- including a video of a suffocating Derek Williams pleading for help from the back of a squad car.

The newspaper also made him aware of a national expert who says the 22-year-old did not die naturally of sickle cell crisis.

As a result, District Attorney John Chisholm is reopening his investigation into whether criminal charges are warranted against any officers.

Chisholm and other authorities previously cleared the officers of wrongdoing, largely based on the medical examiner's earlier ruling of natural death.


The Medical Examiner's office clarified Monday that its definition of homicide is different than what a court may use.  It defines homicide as "death at the hands of another"