Organizers protest for Flynn’s resignation

New evidence in the Derek Williams murder case has led neighborhood organizers to request Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn’s resignation.

Flynn rejected the activists’ demands, saying “I’m not going anywhere,” according to an Oct. 3 article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In 2011, Williams was arrested on suspicion of robbery. A video from inside the MPD squad car where he was placed shows Williams gasping for air and begging for help while officers Jeffrey Cline – who said, “You’re breathing just fine” – and Gregory Kuspa did nothing. The case has prompted outrage from members of the Milwaukee community who say Williams’ death was caused by negligence on the part of the officers.

The Milwaukee County Examiner changed Williams’ cause of death from natural causes to homicide due to the fact that others were involved in the situation, according to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. This change has led to a reopening of the case by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chrisholm.

On Sept. 27, close to 400 Milwaukee residents gathered at the Milwaukee Brotherhood of Firefighters Hall to watch the video of Williams and to demand that Flynn resign.

Another protest was held on Oct. 3, when more than 100 protesters also demanded that Flynn resign and that the officers involved be held responsible.

Several faith and community organizations, focusing on bringing justice for Williams, met with Flynn on Oct. 3 with a list of demands. Among these is Peace Action Wisconsin, a peace and justice organization which “works for a world where human needs are met, the environment is preserved, and the threats of war and nuclear weapons have been abolished,” according to the organization’s website.

The coalition demanded more information on the Williams case, specifically when dashboard camera footage was viewed for the first time and the release of police radio communications from the night of Williams’ death, as well as the badges of the officers involved and the resignation of Flynn.

According to Mike Helbick, program director of Peace Action Wisconsin, a coalition of faith and community organizations is built in order to improving police-community relations and all of the work that this effort entails.

“A call for Chief Flynn’s resignation … is merely one demand that Milwaukee’s community is making at this point,” Helbick said.

The NAACP Milwaukee Branch voiced its doubt in the credibility of the officials responsible in a statement.

“A credible investigation must occur in a manner to provide justice for Derek Williams and to hold accountable those responsible for his death,” the statement said.