United States Department of Justice to Initiate Criminal Investigation of Derek Williams Death and Initial Assembly of Information about Milwaukee Police Department Practice Issues
James L. Santelle
United States Attorney, Eastern District of Wisconsin
October 10, 2012
United States Attorney James L. Santelle announced today that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is initiating an investigation of the death in July of 2011 of Mr. Derek Williams while he was in the custody of the Milwaukee Police Department. The federal investigation will be conducted by Special Agents assigned to the Milwaukee Division Office of the FBI, with assistance from the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.
In making this announcement, Santelle stated that the investigation will “begin promptly and be conducted with all of the thorough professionalism, focused activity, and high integrity for which the FBI has a well-deserved reputation.” While Santelle declined to provide a date by which the investigation would be completed, he affirmed his “strong, unconditional support for an investigation that is animated by a commitment to identify all relevant facts, analyze all material information, and pursue all appropriate avenues in the paramount interests of justice.”
In his announcement, Santelle further confirmed that the United States Department of Justice, including both the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, is continuing to gather facts and assemble information to determine whether there is a basis upon which to initiate a formal “pattern and practice” investigation of the Milwaukee Police Department. Santelle noted that, consistent with established procedure, this inquiry is in “a preliminary stage during which those materials are obtained, reviewed, and evaluated to determine whether a pattern and practice investigation is appropriately begun.”
Teresa L. Carlson, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Wisconsin Field Office, commented that, consistent with its long-standing, investigative mission to protect the safety and promote the security of the community, the FBI locally and nationwide will continue to accept and receive reports and information from residents about civil rights incidents. The FBI may be contacted for this purpose at (414) 276-4684. Santelle also advised that, in connection with the preliminary inquiry about the possibility of a pattern and practice action, the Civil Rights Division will also accept information through telephonic and e-mail systems that are now operational. The telephone number for that reporting is 1-855-544-5132; the e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.Finally, Santelle expressly noted that the leadership of the Milwaukee Police Department and the leadership of the Office of the Milwaukee County District Attorney are cooperating fully and unconditionally with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of the United States Attorney, and the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice in these matters.
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