MILWAUKEE – The father of a Milwaukee-area teen who died in 2012 after being restrained in a convenience store said Friday it was "unconscionable" for the Milwaukee County district attorney not to bring charges.
Corey Stingley, 16, was suspected of shoplifting alcohol from a West Allis convenience store in December 2012, and three customers tackled him and held him down. When police arrived a few minutes later they found him lying unconscious in an awkward position.
He was taken to a hospital with a brain injury caused by lack of oxygen. He later died after his family decided to have him withdrawn from a ventilator.
Milwaukee County district attorney John Chisholm conducted a yearlong investigation but said last week he wouldn't charge any of the three men with homicide or reckless conduct. He said there wasn't sufficient evidence to prove they intended to kill Stingley or knew their actions could lead to death.
The victim's father, Craig Stingley, told The Associated Press on Friday he was outraged by the decision. Stingley said his son's life had been taken by "three murderers" whose crimes were now going unpunished.
"The DA's office has been negligent, just unbelievably derelict in their duties," Stingley said. "For him to come back with the decision he did is unconscionable. It shows he's not able to do the job he's elected to do."
An autopsy concluded that Corey Stingley died of a lack of oxygen to the brain. Photos from the medical examiner's office showed he had redness and bruising on his neck.
The three men denied choking Stingley, telling investigators they tackled him and then restrained him by his arms, shoulders and upper body. One man acknowledged putting Stingley in a headlock until the three had wrestled him to the ground.
Craig Stingley said the three men, who are white, must have had prejudice in their hearts to react that way toward his son, who was black.
"You can't tell me any way a grown man, when he's choking someone, doesn't know he's causing bodily harm," Stingley said. "I have to think they have some kind of predisposition or hatred in them, to do what they did to a 16-year-old boy."
Stingley has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate. The agency declined to comment beyond confirming it received a request.
Stingley took part in a rally Friday afternoon outside Chisholm's office building. He said the goal was to inform the community its district attorney was incapable of doing his job and shouldn't be re-elected. About 150 demonstrators attended the rally, some carrying signs reading "Justice for Corey Stingley" and "Bring his racist killers to trial," while speakers called on the prosecutor's office to file charges.
A message left with Chisholm wasn't immediately returned.
Dinesh Ramde can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.