Wis. Police Chief Defends Handling of Teen’s Death

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Flynn had planned to meet with the media to explain why police handled the investigation as they did, but he said he wanted to wait until after Simmons' funeral. He also said he met with family members Tuesday, and that the conversation went well.

Simmons' uncle, Leon Larry, wasn't at the meeting, but told The Associated Press he didn't buy Flynn's explanations. He suspected that police knew they screwed up and were spinning the facts to help cover up their errors.

"None of it makes sense. My sister was treated like she was the suspect," he said. "And searching the house, it looked like they were trying to give the suspect a reason for what he did, an excuse for what he did. That's garbage."

Messages left with other family members were not immediately returned.

The case drew attention from Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition, a national organization that wants federal hate-crime charges brought against Spooner. Darius was black and Spooner is white.

Flynn said he didn't concern himself with national groups, saying they have national agendas — swooping into cities whenever a local event bolsters their cause and then disappearing. His concern, he said, was maintaining good relations with the local groups who care about the Milwaukee community.

At a news conference two days after the shooting, mourning family members criticized police for their lack of compassion. Betty McCuiston, Simmons' aunt, said police had no justification for keeping a grieving mother away from her dying son.

Flynn said he understood the perception, but added that in six months, when the suspect is on trial, no one will care how much compassion police showed on the day of the crime. The only thing people will care about is a guilty verdict, he said.

"If we do things differently people will say, 'Why didn't they convict that guy?'" he said. "We're truly damned if we do and damned if we don't."

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