Milwaukee Pays $2 Million to Family of Man Who Died in Back of Cop Car

Derek Williams told police that he couldn't breath while sitting in the back of a police car.


Eight years after Derek Williams died in the backseat of a Milwaukee squad car, his family is set to receive $2 million in a settlement.

In 2011, Officers Richard Ticcioni, Jeffrey Cline, and Jason Bleichwehl arrested Williams as a robbery suspect. Williams was released from jail earlier that day and was cuffed after running from the officers. Ticcioni reportedly placed his knee on Williams' back during the arrest, causing William to say that he was unable to breathe. While in the back of the squad car, he continued to voice his concerns. Cline told Williams, "You're breathing just fine," even though video from the squad car showed Williams struggling to breathe for several minutes before he died.

Warning: Images may be disturbing to some viewers

A civil suit was filed on behalf of Williams' three children against the officers and the city. The complaint argued that the officers violated a policy requiring them to request assistance for medical emergencies of suspects in their care.

Following the death, the Milwaukee County assistant medical examiner relied on a police statement to conclude that Williams died of natural causes "without incident." Attorneys for Williams' children say that the examiner did not look over police reports or video from the car. Because of this, the medical examiner was not aware of the knee pressed to Williams' back.

After taking that information into account, the cause of death was changed to homicide.

On Tuesday, the city agreed to pay Williams' three young children $2 million over time.

The officers were investigated but never charged. One officer, Bleichwehl, was fired in 2006 for non-disciplinary medical reasons. Police training in Milwaukee has since been updated to address "cultural differences, mental health and physical health conditions that can affect behavior and arrest and pursuit procedures."

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  1. So does the training now include a “don’t stand around and watch people choke to death” class?

    1. It’s OK to watch them them choke to death as long as you’re yelling, “stop resisting!”

  2. “Police training in Milwaukee has since been updated to address “cultural differences, mental health and physical health conditions that can affect behavior and arrest and pursuit procedures.””

    I thought the problem was failure to send him to the hospital and/or get an ambulance. If they’d done that promptly, I think they would have done what they had to do – without second-guessing the use of force on a fleeing robbery suspect.

  3. “Police training in Milwaukee has since been updated to address “cultural differences…””

    “Cultural differences” WTF is that supposed to mean? Breathing is part of black culture too?

    1. I wonder if anyone in particular will get consultant contracts to talk to cops about cultural difference? The speaker cashes a paycheck, the cops get that annoying “training” stuff out of the way and go back to what they were doing.

      Maybe that’s too cynical.

      1. No, that about covers it. It will be some kind of HR bullshit that everyone rolls their eyes at.

  4. This is not enough because it will not motivate the officers to save the next guy’s life. There is no substitute for putting murders in prison for a long time.

    1. No, handing out taxpayer money to their victims has no effect on police behavior. Only police going to jail and paying civil judgements out of their own pockets will change their behavior.

  5. I see all these articles with cops being nothing like JBTs.

    The only to stop these thug cops is to do the following:
    1. Eliminate qualified immunity
    2. Require all cops to carry a surety bond and insurance.
    3. If the cop screws up, he is held personally lianle and his insurance and bond pay for it.

    If the cop screws up to many times, the insurance and bond carriers will not cover him. And set it up, that if you cannot carry the insurance and bond, you cannot be a LEO.

    Either that, or eventually push will come to shove and a whole lot cops are going to die.

    1. I’ve been saying exactly this for years now.

  6. “The officers were investigated but never charged.”
    But did they asset forfeit their houses, cars, and dogs?
    Inquiring minds want to know – – – –

    1. Out of a deep sense of honor, they shot their own dogs.

  7. Have the Milwaukee cops learned not to hand over naked scared teenagers to homosexual cannibals yet?

    1. Milwaukee PD did fire those cops, but a judge ordered them reinstated.

  8. Hey, that’s awesome! So whose pocket does that $2 million come out of?

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