I-Team: Fact-finding review reveals new details in case of Byron Williams’ death while in police custody

I-Team Special Reports

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A police stop for a bicycle light ended in one man’s death. More than one year later, new information was released to the public, including that man’s family.

We want to warn you the video in this report may be disturbing to viewers.

Byron Williams told officers he couldn’t breathe 24 times before his death, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

His family says the officers need to be held accountable.

 “He deserves justice,” said Renee Rick-Jones, a family member to Williams. “What they did to him was not right. It was not fair, it was inhumane.”

At this time, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office has no plans to charge any officers at the scene on September 5, 2019.

Police tried stopping Williams for not having a bicycle light.

He ran.

Once in custody, while he repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe, an officer kept a knee on his back. Officers later questioned whether Williams was breathing. They called for medical attention but did not render aid.

New video was released at a fact-finding review Friday, but body cameras were turned off while Williams was on the ground.

The Clark County Coroner ruled the death a homicide because the prone restraint officers kept Williams in was a factor.

According to the medical examiner, a high level of methamphetamine in Williams’ system along with health issues including a heart attack an autopsy revealed he may have had 12 to 24 hours before his death were also factors.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department will not comment on whether the officers at the scene were reprimanded, but Metro did tell the I-Team they are active employees.

It was revealed Friday the two main officers refused to provide a statement to the department’s investigators at the scene.

“We are still grieving, and until they’re held accountability, we won’t have any rest,” said family member Tina Lewis-Stevenson.

Metro updated its policy after Williams’ death:

  • Officers are not allowed to keep subjects in a prone position. 
  • They are not allowed to turn body cameras off at a scene.
  • They are trained in rendering aid at the police academy.

Williams’ family says this is a start but it’s not enough.

The family of Byron Williams has not filed a civil lawsuit against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. They do have legal representation, including civil rights attorney, Ben Crump.

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