LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The family of a man who died in police custody want answers as to how a traffic stop turned deadly. A portion of an officers’ body camera video shows the altercation between 50-year-old Byron Williams and two Metro police officers.
But, the body cameras were turned off during some of the interaction.
In the video shown during a Metro Police news conference Monday, Byron Williams can be seen and heard repeatedly telling two police officers that he couldn’t breathe.
He was stopped by police at 5:48 a.m. Thursday. Within an hour of the stop, he was dead.
“He was not armed. He was not trying to hurt them, and he was murdered in their care,” said Kelly Williams, his daughter.
Police say officers tried to pull Williams over near M.L.K. Blvd. and Bonanza Rd. because of a traffic violation. He didn’t have a safety light on the bicycle he was riding. But, Williams ran away from police.
After police caught him, Williams complained that he couldn’t breathe. He passed out, and shortly after that, all of the officers’ body cameras were shut off.
“There was a time when the cameras went off after they got him over to the police car and they subsequently turned them back on later on,” said Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank.
Police are investigating if and why they were turned off prematurely.
“We’re missing a lot of footage,” said Williams’ niece Teena Acree.
Williams is a convicted felon out of California. During Monday’s news conference, police mentioned his lengthy criminal history which included several drug offenses, assault, and robbery.
“He made bad choices, but guess what? He was changing for the better,” said Acree. “Being arrested shouldn’t turn into someone dying.”
Police say medical personnel responded eight minutes after being called to the scene.
Williams later died at the hospital.
“We take the sanctity of life very seriously. Any time that there is something like this, it’s very unfortunate,” said Asst. Sheriff Hank.
Metro’s Force Investigation team has confirmed that they are investigating the officers’ use of force in this incident.
The findings will be forwarded to the Clark County District Attorney’s office for review.
The coroner has yet to release the cause of Williams’ death.