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New medical info revealed during inquest into Derek Williams death

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Gavel & Stryker, made from Cherry & Ash, sold to Whitney Hoffman. By KeithBurtis (Flickr: Gavel & Stryker) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Gavel & Stryker, made from Cherry & Ash, sold to Whitney Hoffman. By KeithBurtis (Flickr: Gavel & Stryker) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - New medical information came out Monday, as an inquest began into the death of a Milwaukee man while in police custody.

A jury expects to hear seven days of testimony from over 40 witnesses in the 2011 death of 22-year-old Derek Williams.

Assistant medical examiner Christopher Poulos testified Monday that a critical bone in Williams’ neck was not cracked, as initial tests had indicated. Poulos also explained his finding that Williams died from sickle cell crisis – the first such ruling in 1,000 cases Poulos has handled over the past five years.

The medical examiner said it was brought on by stress and exertion, after Williams had been chased by officers who saw him rob a couple on a Milwaukee street.

A video released last summer showed that Williams collapsed in a squad car. And once that got out, Poulos changed the cause of death from natural causes to homicide. He’s expected to explain the reasoning for that move when he returns to the stand Tuesday.

Special prosecutor John Franke is questioning the witnesses, with no cross examinations by a defense. The jury is expected to help Franke eventually decide whether charges should be filed in Williams’ death.

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