Prosecutors charged two Milwaukee police officers Friday in connection with a prisoner’s overdose death.
Officers Donald Krueger and Marco Lopez were charged separately with felony abuse of person in custody and misdemeanor misconduct in office, respectively, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
According to the criminal complaint, officers arrested a 21-year-old man early in the morning of Feb. 23, 2022, on a warrant and took him to the Milwaukee Police Department’s District 5. The department identified the man in a statement as Keishon Thomas.
Thomas told Krueger during booking said that he had ingested cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy and began to dry heave and sweat, according to the complaint. Krueger said he’d call an ambulance but never did, instead placing him in a cell, according to the complaint.
Lopez took over booking duties for the day shift, relieving Krueger, according to the complaint. Detectives discovered that jail video shows he didn’t conduct 10 cell checks that his logs said he performed.
No one apparently realized Thomas was in distress until an officer checked on him just before 6 p.m. that evening. He was pronounced dead in his cell about 20 minutes later, according to the complaint.
The Milwaukee Police Department said in its statement that Krueger was suspended after the incident and ultimately retired in November after 25 years of service. Lopez has more than 12 years of experience with the agency and is currently suspended.
“The Milwaukee Police Department holds all members to the highest degree of integrity and if any member violates the code of conduct they will be held accountable,” the statement said. “Our members must not discredit what this department stands for, particularly when taking an oath to preserve and protect life. The Milwaukee Police Department extends its deepest sympathies to the Thomas family on the loss of their loved one.”
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents the Thomas family, said in a statement to CBS News Friday following the arrests that “Keishon’s death could have been prevented if the officers who were responsible for him at the time of his arrest followed the protocol.”
“Officer Lopez lied about following protocol and checking on the inmate he was responsible for, and Krueger didn’t give Keishon the medical attention he obviously needed when he saw him dry heave,” Crump’s statement read.
Online court records didn’t list attorneys for Krueger or Lopez. An email message The Associated Press left in a general inbox for the Milwaukee Police Association, the union that represents Milwaukee officers, wasn’t returned.
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