Vigil for three men turns into protest in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- A vigil for three men who died in police custody, turned into a march down Milwaukee city streets Friday night.

Outside the Milwaukee County Jail, Angela Garner held a candle and spoke about her son, James Perry. Perry died in police custody in September 2010.

“What they did to my son was wrong. If they had helped him he would have been here today,” said Garner.

Surveillance video from the night James Perry died shows him begging for help. Officers didn’t seem to believe him.

Earlier in the day, Perry had a seizure in his cell. Police took him to Aurora-Sinai Medical Center, where he was treated then released. Later that night, they took him to the Milwaukee County Jail, where he was left unattended on the floor for three minutes. By the time a nurse removed the spit mask covering his face, he had stopped breathing.

In a previous interview with FOX6 News, Police Chief Ed Flynn says his officers followed proper procedures.

“It was the hospital that said, “You can have him back. We’ve medicated him. Here’s take him back. He’s faking,” said Flynn.

A spokeswoman for the hospital declined to comment due to privacy regulations.

Outside the county jail on Friday, the vigil evolved into a march. Led by Perry’s mother, dozens marched down the middle of city streets. Police blocked traffic at 9th and State but no arrests were made.

Also at the vigil Friday, was family of Derek Williams. Williams died in the back of a squad car from complications from Sickle Cell Anemia. Video of his death shows him struggling to breathe and begging for help for nearly 15 minutes.

MPD has made some changes in procedure since Williams death.