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Calls for Reform in Las Vegas Police Department Following Death of Byron Williams

July 9, 2020

50-year-old black man stopped for not having a bicycle light, then handcuffed and restrained with a knee on his back

LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Nationally renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump and the legal team representing the family of George Floyd are calling for meaningful reform in the Las Vegas Police Department following the death of Byron Williams, a black man who died in police custody after being stopped for a minor offense and eventually handcuffed with an officer’s knee on his back.  

The 50-year-old had been riding a bicycle in the early morning hours without a safety light when officers stopped him. The encounter eventually ended with Williams being handcuffed on the ground with an officer’s knee on his back. Williams repeatedly told the officers, “I can’t breathe.” He died an hour later.  The incident happened nine months ago on Sept. 5, 2019, but has not received widespread attention, in part because of the lack of full video for the public to see. The Las Vegas Police Department has released only partial bodycam footage. 

The two officers who were involved in Williams’ death have not yet been charged.

“We demand immediate accountability and transparency from the Las Vegas Police Department in all of its cases,” said Attorney Ben Crump.  “In the Byron Williams case, this includes the release of the full bodycam video of the incident so the public can fully understand what happened that evening.” 

“We continue to push for the elimination of systemic racism in our nation’s police departments. What happened to Byron Williams should never ever happen, and we need substantive, meaningful police reform now in Las Vegas and around the country,” said Attorney Antonio Romanucci of Romanucci & Blandin, LLC.

"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. 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," said Tina Lewis-Stevenson, Byron Lewis’ sister.   

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