This is a massive story.
By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Watchdog
MADISON, Wis. – Hundreds, maybe thousands, of Milwaukee criminal cases could be compromised due to a malfunction in January of a contracted video system used for capturing interviews and confessions of suspects, multiple sources tell Wisconsin Watchdog.
Among the interviews lost is that of Darmequaye D. Cohill, 21, who was charged in January with first-degree reckless homicide and first-degree recklessly endangering safety, both offenses with a dangerous weapon, in connection with the shooting death of a 13-month old boy.
Michael Crivello, president of theMilwaukee Police Association, and James Toran, the Milwaukee lawyer who previously served as Cohill’s defense attorney, confirm that the Milwaukee Police Department’s Tracer “video interview solution” system went down in January, not long after Cohill was arrested. The system is provided by MediaSolv Solutions Corp. Perhaps thousands of interviews and confessions of suspects have been lost, and many cannot be retrieved.
“They lost a lot of stuff,” Toran said. “It’s pretty bad.”
Sources in the police department’s homicide and drug investigation units say that because confessions have disappeared, the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office has been pleading down felony cases to much lesser charges.
A few questions come to mind… First, this happened in January and we are just now finding out about it? And it is worth noting that we get this huge story from the alternative media – not from Milwaukee’s only newspaper or from Milwaukee public officials.
Second, these systems should be highly redundant. Why wasn’t this one? Kittle explains:
Several sources say the Milwaukee PD begged the city for more funding for additional storage and data backup last year because the system was reaching critical overload. The funds were denied, sources say, and within months the entire system crashed.
A spokeswoman from Mayor Tom Barrett’s office did not return a call seeking comment Monday.
So Barrett and the Council can fund tens of millions for a street car but can’t find the cash to upgrade critical storage and backup systems for the MPD? Someone said “no” to the funding request and the public deserves to know who it was,
Third, where are Milwaukee’s elected leaders on this? This happened 5 months ago, criminals are not being held accountable for their crimes, and everybody is just pretending like nothing is wrong?
This is a major screw up that could have been avoided that is damaging hundreds of criminal cases. Someone is responsible and the public needs to know who.