Derrick Williams, 22

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
July 06, 2011

Agencies: Federal Bureau of Investigation - FBI | Milwaukee Police Department Wisconsin | Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) DoJ Wisconsin | Civil Division of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Cause of death: Choking

Follow This Case

Last updated: almost 6 years ago


“I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe!” he yelled.

Police ignored Williams’ calls for help saying, “You’re just playing games.” Williams continued to plead for help, finally passing out after 10 minutes.

After police were cleared of any wrongdoing at the state and the federal level, Williams’ relatives and supporters continue to demand justice for a death that many believe is indicative of civil rights violations and broad police abuse.

Legal Action

May 2013 The Department of Justice announced today that there is insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against any Milwaukee Police Department officer for the in-custody death of the late Derek Williams on July 6, 2011.

Officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the department’s Civil Rights Division, and the FBI met today with the Williams family and its representatives to inform them of this decision.

Community and Family Efforts

See also:  the Ernest Lacy case.