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derek walker milwaukee police

Back in July of 2011, Derek Walker (pictured gasping for air above) was struggling to breathe while in the back of a Milwaukee police vehicle and pleaded with cops to help him. But cops did noting to aide the man whom they arrested on suspicion of robbery.

He died in the car minutes later.

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The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that it took ten months of negotiations and requests to secure the dashcam video of Walker’s final moments. The newspaper published the video on their website on Sept. 23.

City officials from the fire, police and prosecutors offices reviewed the video months ago and determined the cops did nothing wrong. Walker’s death was ruled a natural death until a Journal-Sentinel investigation prompted the medical examiner’s office to change that ruling to a homicide.

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At a news conference last week, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said the officers “missed signals that Williams was in distress.” Chief Flynn said Walker’s death was a result of a training issue.

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But more than 100 protesters who organized in Milwaukee on Wednesday aren’t buying that excuse. And neither should you. Walker is clearly gasping for air and makes numerous pleas for help as he squirms around on the back seat.

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At least nine minutes into the 56-minute video go by before the young man passes out. Only then does the officer check to see if he is OK. He wasn’t. Additional cops and paramedics arrived on the scene to help revive Walker but it was too late.

For the full video of Walker’s death, click here. (Warning: Content Is Graphic)

The Journal-Sentinel has more on this story:

Jayme Montgomery Baker, 30, of Milwaukee, who helped organize Wednesday’s protest, said Williams’ death was not simply the result of a training problem. It is one of many examples of police violating the rights of African-Americans in Milwaukee, she said.

“The people that are directly and indirectly responsible for Derek’s death need to be taken to jail and tried in a court of law,” Montgomery Baker said. “Their job is to protect and serve and take care of the community and not add to the problem.”

After a rally in front of the statue of Martin Luther King Jr. on the city’s north side, protesters marched to Milwaukee police headquarters downtown, chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Chief Flynn has got to go,” “the cops in our ‘hood ain’t no good,” and: “who do we trust? Not the police!”

Some 40 officers in cars, on motorcycles and on bicycles kept the streets clear as the demonstrators walked through the city and shouted their slogans in front of the police station.

Several officers gazed down on the crowd from the windows of the building, but Flynn did not come down to address the group.

“The attitude at the top is perpetuated at the bottom,” said George Martin of Peace Action Wisconsin. “This is not about training. This is about racism. This is about their personal behavior and racism, and there’s no getting around that.”

U.S. Justice Department is weighing a possible criminal investigation into Walker’s death. Click on the links in the story to get more background on Walker’s case.

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