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 the Milwaukee 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.
Crivello said cops are frustrated. A lot of hard work has been compromised.
"It sucks," he said.