Fact-finding review set in 2019 death of Byron Williams while in police custody

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The death of Byron Williams, a Black man who died while in custody after he was stopped by Las Vegas police, will be the subject of a fact-finding review on Friday.

Williams, 50, died after police stopped him on his bicycle for not having a bicycle light on Sept. 5, 2019. Body cam video shows a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer with his knee on Williams’ back while he was on the ground, and Williams repeatedly told officers he couldn’t breathe.

The case gained more attention following the Minneapolis death of George Floyd, whose death was one of the biggest factors in the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States.

The Clark County Coroner’s Office ruled Williams’ death a homicide. Williams also had methamphetamine intoxication and other significant health issues such as hypertension, heart disease and lung disease.

Williams was taken into custody near Martin Luther King Boulevard and Bonanza Road by officers Benjamin Vasquez and Patrick Campbell.

A fact-finding review is held when a police-involved death occurs and the District Attorney’s Office preliminarily determines that no criminal prosecution of the officer or officers involved is appropriate.

At the end of the review, no formal determination about the manner or cause of death is rendered.

Representatives from the District Attorney’s Office will present witnesses and make a presentation of the essential facts surrounding the police-involved death. Members of the public observing the review may submit written questions to the presiding officer on forms available at the review.

Due to COVID-19 guidelines, the review — which will be at 8 a.m. in Commission Chambers at the Clark County Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Pkwy. — will be limited to a maximum of 50 people.

For those not able attend or gain entrance, the review will be aired live on Clark County Television (CCTV) and streamed live at www.YouTube.com/user/ClarkCountyNV/live.

The review of Williams’ death will be presided over by Hearing Officer Tom Pitaro, Josh Tomsheck will serve as the ombudsman for the review, and Chief Deputy District Attorney Michelle Fleck will represent the District Attorney’s Office.

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