Saturday, March 8, 2014

AB-409 Bill Requiring Outside Investigators On Officer-related Citizen Deaths Passed By WI Legislative Committee

Bill requires for Wisconsin law enforcement agencies to have several outside investigators involved in officer-related citizen deaths investigations.

By H. Nelson Goodson
March 8, 2014

Madison, WI - On Thursday, the Wisconsin Senate Committee on Transportation, Public Safety and Veterans and Military Affairs voted unanimously to pass Assembly Bill 409 (Citizens and Law Enforcement Safety Act), which requires outside investigators to be involved in Officer-related citizen deaths investigations. The bill was created in response to officer-involved shootings involving the Michael Bell from Kenosha, Derek Williams from Milwaukee and Paul Heenan from Madison deaths who died while being detained by law enforcement officers. Those deaths were investigated by the officers involved own departments, which were ruled justified. 
Family members and citizen advocates claimed that the investigation into officer-involved citizen deaths should have been investigated by other independent agencies to reduced bias results exonerating officers.
The bi-partisan AB-409 bill now go before the full state Senate for debate and approval. If the bill is approved by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Scott Walker (R), Wisconsin will become the first state in the U.S. to pass such a law involving police-related deaths of citizens and to require independent investigators to investigate such deaths.
In 2010, a federal jury awarded $1.85 million to the daughthers of the late Wilbert Javier Prado, 25, who was brutally murdered by an off duty Milwaukee Police officer in Milwaukee's South side on March 2005. The jury found former Officer Alfonzo Glover, 35, used unreasonable force and acted under the color of the law, but was not on duty. Which means, the Glover estate would have to pay instead of the City of Milwaukee.
Prado, an undocumented immigrant was shot 19 times, including being shot 8 times in the back and legs with a 45 Cal. semi-auto handgun while being chased through an alley by then Officer Glover on March 6, 2005. Glover also reloaded and fired the last two shots killing Prado while he layed face down on the ground.
A Milwaukee County District Attorney inquest jury found that Glover's actions had been justified. Glover testified that Prado had followed him from work and began flashing his lights at him. Glover said he stopped near S. 9th St. and W. Ohio Ave. and identified himself as a police officer.
The Milwaukee Police Department investigated the Prado shooting and recommended it was justified.
But months later after local Latino media and members of the Hispanic community rallied and pressured former Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann to open the investigation, McCann finally did. The independent investigation found evidence that a homicide had occurred and on May 2006 McCann filed first-degree intentional homicide charges against Glover, despite opposition from the Milwaukee Police Association (MPA).
In his 38 years as D.A., McCann had never charged an officer with a homicide in police-involved deaths of citizens. John Balcerzak, then president of the MPA called for McCann's resignation "due to irresponsible handling of the investigation of Officer Glover."
After being booked on homicide charges, Glover posted $25,000 bail, and went home. Glover then committed suicide at his South side residence the same day he was charged. 

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