Attorney on George Floyd legal team calls for transparency in Byron Williams death
The family of Byron Williams, along with their attorney and community activists, outside Las Vegas Metropolitan Police headquarters in September. (Photo: Michael Lyle)
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump and the legal team representing George Floyd are calling for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to release all the body camera footage of Byron Williams, who was killed in custody last September.
“We demand immediate accountability and transparency from the Las Vegas Police Department in all of its cases,” Crump said in a statement Thursday. “In the Byron Williams case, this includes the release of the full body cam video of the incident so the public can fully understand what happened that evening.”
Crump, known for his work on racial justice, has worked with families of victims of officer-involved shootings including Tamir Rice and Michael Brown. Though the Williams case happened almost a year ago, Crump said it never got widespread attention in part because the full video of the incident hasn’t been released.
#ByronWilliams was handcuffed on the ground with a @LVMPD officer’s knee on his back & died later after telling officers, “I can’t breathe.” Why did they stop him? For riding a BICYCLE at night without a SAFETY LIGHT! We demand immediate immediate release of all bodycam footage! pic.twitter.com/SzAMqxuA7D
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) July 9, 2020
Early the morning of Sept. 5, officers attempted to stop Williams because of a broken bicycle light. Metro said he fled before he was chased and eventually apprehended. After he was arrested and pinned to the ground, Williams said “I Can’t Breathe” around 20 times.
“Because you’re fucking tired from running,” the officer responded.
Williams’ case, which was ruled as a homicide last October, recently received some national attention and is being compared to Floyd’s death, who also said “I can’t breathe” several times before he was killed.
It’s not the first death that has received renewed scrutiny as activists demand police reforms and racial justice.
Marcia Wells, Williams’ niece who spoke with Nevada Current during the May 30 protest in downtown Las Vegas, said she had been waiting for the national outrage that is finally happening.
“Our family has been forever changed by the senseless and inhumane death of our brother, uncle and son. Byron Williams was an aspiring poet, author, hair and fashion designer,” said Tina Lewis-Stevenson, Williams’ sister said in a statement. “The conduct of the police officers the morning of Sept. 5 was unthinkable, and we will not rest until justice is brought to Byron’s case.”
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