One-Year Anniversary of Byron William’s Death Brings Calls for Justice and Reform
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 immediate transparency by the Las Vegas Police Department on the one-year anniversary of 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 at night 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 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 and are on administrative leave.
“We are still waiting for accountability and transparency from the Las Vegas Police Department in this tragic case,” said Attorney Ben Crump. “The entire body cam footage needs to be released, and questions need to be answered about why it appears all body cams were turned off during the incident, which ended in Byron Williams’ senseless death.”
“Police all across the country, and clearly in Las Vegas, need to acknowledge and address their tragic shortfalls in training, particularly as it relates to prone restraints and de-escalation of force. Once Byron Williams was on his stomach and handcuffed, reasonable officers should have reduced their level of force and known that from their training. Our citizens deserve and demand better,” said Attorney Antonio M. Romanucci of Romanucci & Blandin, LLC.
"Police chose to navigate the situation their way, elevating it from what should have been an arrest, to murdering him. They decided to take matters into their hands playing judge and jury, giving him a death sentence for riding his bike without lights. He was a beautiful person and his senseless death should have never taken place,” said Tina Lewis-Stevenson, Byron Lewis’ sister.
“We are asking the public to stand with us in supporting this family and all of the local families and individuals impacted here in our city and state. We are asking you to open your hearts and minds, open your ears to hear about who Byron Williams really was. We ask you to echo and amplify the need for accountability for this murder and all misconduct by the police,” said Oja Vincent of the Forced Trajectory Project.
About Ben Crump Law
Nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump and his national network of specialized attorneys have spearheaded a legal movement to better protect the rights of marginalized citizens. He has led landscape-changing civil rights cases and represented clients in a wide range of areas including civil rights, personal injury, labor and employment, class actions, and more. Ben Crump Law is dedicated to holding the powerful accountable. For more, visit BenCrump.com or call (800) 935-8111.
About Romanucci & Blandin, LLC
Romanucci & Blandin is a Chicago-based national trial practice committed to fighting for victims of negligence, abuse and wrongful death arising from police misconduct, corporate negligence, civil rights actions, medical malpractice, mass torts and class actions. Founded in 1998, the firm is widely recognized for representing plaintiffs in numerous practice areas including: workers’ compensation, pharmaceuticals, civil rights, police misconduct, excessive force, aviation, product liability and premises liability. For more information, please visit www.rblaw.net or call (312) 458-1000.
About Pintas & Mullins
Pintas & Mullins is a national law firm, headquartered in Chicago, which has fought for the rights of the seriously injured for more than 35 years. Its practice areas include representation for the victims of environmental injustice, nursing home abuse of seniors, medical malpractice, dangerous products and drugs, and more. Through its close association with Ben Crump law, Pintas & Mullins is a passionate advocate for those without a voice against powerful interests and bad-acting corporations. For more information please visit www.pintas.com or call (800) 935-8111.