Family of Antonio Williams, Man Killed by NYPD, Sues City of New York, Seeking Unedited Police Video and Other Records that May Explain His Wrongful Death
New York, NY— Today, the family of Antonio Williams, a man killed by the NYPD in September 2019, filed a special proceeding in New York State Supreme Court against the city, arguing that Williams’ wrongful death was caused by negligence and violation of his civil rights during a suspicious stop by the NYPD.
On September 29, 2019, Antonio Williams was standing on the street, waiting for a taxi, when plainclothes officers jumped out of cars at him after midnight. Antonio Williams was killed by NYPD officers after being chased, tackled and punched by officers. At least six officers – including Brian Mulkeen- drew their guns and opened fire, killing both Williams and Mulkeen in a reckless hail of 15 bullets. The NYPD has offered no explanation for why Williams was first approached or why they escalated the incident without reasonable suspicion of a crime.
The lawsuit from Williams’ family, filed by law firm Beldock Levine & Hoffman, calls on the city and NYPD to release body worn camera footage and NYCHA footage of the shooting of Williams and NYPD officer Brian Mulkeen and the events which lead up to that shooting at or around 1132 E. 229th Street near Laconia Avenue in the Bronx, NY in and around the Edenwald Houses.
“What we see in the video made available by the NYPD is a scripted and heavily edited version of what happened that led to the death of Mr. Williams. The NYPD needs to turn over all video, not just body worn camera video but VIPER video and any other video from any other source, as well. Given the heavily edited version that has been produced to date, the family is on point in asking what the NYPD is trying to hide about this incident. If the NYPD has nothing to hide, it will immediately release all the video footage and other records and documents we are requesting,” said Jonathan C. Moore, lawyer for the Williams family at the law firm Beldock Levine & Hoffman.
Along with unedited video footage from the NYPD, the lawsuit seeks the full public release of a variety of other records and documents - including but not limited to:
-Unusual Occurrence and Unusual Incident reports; Crime Scene Unit reports; Stop Question and Frisk reports; Firearm Discharge/Assault report related to the shooting of Mr. William; 311 and 911 calls;
-Records “reflecting the treatment by NYPD officers and emergency medical responders of Mr. Williams’s body after he was shot and before he was pronounced dead and the chain of custody of Mr. Williams’s body;
-Records “reflecting which steps NYPD officers took to notify Mr. Williams’s family about his death or the circumstances surrounding his death; video or audio recordings and handwritten notes, reflecting police observations of or interactions with members of Mr. Williams’s family on September 29, 2019”;
-Records, including video or audio recordings and handwritten notes, “reflecting civilian interviews or statements given by non-NYPD officers related to Mr. Williams’s shooting or any related events”;
-Records “regarding investigations and disciplinary actions contemplated or taken (including any command disciplines or charges and specifications levied) related to Mr. Williams’s shooting or other events related to Mr. Williams’s shooting.
The full filing of the lawsuit is available to media outlets upon request.
“We want the truth, and we want Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD to stop blocking access to the truth. That’s why we’re filing this lawsuit. Enough is enough. The Mayor and NYPD have refused to let us see the full body camera footage from officers when our son was gunned down in the street. So we’re taking action to obtain these records. Instead of giving us answers, the police department has been refusing to release the most basic information. It’s infuriating and unacceptable,” said Shawn Williams, father of Antonio Williams and Gladys Williams, Antonio's stepmother.
“Our son should not have died last September, and it is painful every day to be reminded he is no longer with us or with his two children. Tragically, Antonio Williams is a name that now belongs alongside names like Eric Garner, Delrawn Small, Saheed Vassell and Kawaski Trawick –all black men wrongfully killed by NYPD officers on de Blasio’s watch,” said Williams.
"The family and the City of New York, deserve to know what the officers did after the shooting," said David B. Rankin, lawyer for the Williams family at the law firm Beldock Levine & Hoffman.
“All available information suggests that Antonio Williams was the victim of an unconstitutional NYPD stop and suffered deadly consequences. There is no indication that the NYPD had reasonable suspicion, or any specific legal justification, to stop Antonio Williams as he waited in the street for a cab. From a legal perspective, the NYPD escalated the encounter to an unconstitutional stop by chasing after Mr. Williams. Multiple officers recklessly shooting as part of what seems like an unconstitutional stop caused two lives to be tragically lost that night. The Williams family should not have to file a lawsuit to obtain the most basic information about their son’s death. But clearly this lawsuit is necessary, given the pervasive lack of transparency and accountability at the NYPD – a trend that has only worsened under Mayor de Blasio,” said Loyda Colon, a spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) and Co-Director of the Justice Committee.
Since Williams’ death in September 2019, Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD have repeatedly obstructed transparency and accountability for his family. After committing to delaying public release of select body camera footage, they went back on their word and released the NYPD's version before Antonio Williams' birth mother could view the footage. Additionally, they have failed to provide - or commit to providing - the Williams family with access to full, unedited body camera footage or information about the investigation, discipline or whether NYPD officers are on modified status.
About Communities United for Police Reform
Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all five boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many unfairly targeted by the NYPD – including people of color, LGBTQ people, homeless people, young people, and immigrants.