Family of Man Killed by NYPD, Elected Officials and Police Accountability Advocates Demand Answers and Accountability
The family of Antonio Williams is demanding transparency and accountability from Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD over the NYPD killing of Antonio in September.
Antonio Williams’ family – including Antonio’s father Shawn Williams, stepmother Gladys Williams and brother Justin Williams – along with their attorneys, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, NYC Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Brad Lander, the mother of Eric Garner and police accountability advocates, announced the filing of a FOIL request demanding records related to the incident in a press conference at City Hall. They also demanded immediate release of the names of officers involved in Williams’ death, and that they be given immediate access to unedited body camera and surveillance footage related to the killing of Antonio Williams.
The full FOIL request can be found here.
“We want the truth and we want Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD to stop blocking access to the truth. My son should not have died that night, and it is devastating that he is no longer with us or with his two children. Yesterday marked 10 weeks since Antonio was recklessly gunned down by plainclothes cops who jumped out at him in the middle of the night and all he was doing was standing on the sidewalk, waiting for a cab. The Mayor and NYPD have refused to release the names of officers who were involved in killing my son and we still haven’t seen body camera footage. Instead of giving us answers, the police department has been smearing him ever since they killed him,” said Shawn Williams, father of Antonio Williams.
Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams said, "Ten weeks ago on a Bronx street corner, two lives were tragically lost. As their friends, family and loved ones grieve, the family of Antonio Williams still has no answers, no transparency, no small sense of closure or accountability following his death. Nor do Officer Mulkeen's. At the very least, these family members deserve to see the body camera footage, to know what happened on the night these lives were lost – yet so far, this knowledge has been denied them. The department must quickly make that footage available."
Attorneys for Antonio Williams’ family from Beldock Levine & Hoffman raised questions about the incident and the complete lack of transparency:
“Under both federal constitutional law and state law the police cannot simply jump out of their car and stop someone unless they have some suspicion that the person is connected to some crime,” said Jonathan Moore, attorney for the Williams family. “Absent any such suspicion the person who the police want to stop is free to run away.”
“The Police had no problem releasing the body camera footage from one other police killing in October, what are they hiding?” asked David Rankin, attorney for the Williams family.
Antonio Williams was killed by NYPD officers on September 29, 2019 after reportedly being chased and tackled by plainclothes Officer Brian Mulkeen. At least five officers reportedly drew their guns and opened fire, killing both Williams and Mulkeen. Williams was simply standing on the sidewalk, waiting for a taxi, when plainclothes officers jumped out of cars at him that evening. The NYPD has offered no explanation for why Williams was first approached or why they escalated the incident without reasonable suspicion of a crime.
Since Williams’ death, Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD have obstructed transparency and accountability for his family. They have refused to release the names of officers involved, and failed to produce body camera footage or any information about investigations or discipline related to the incident. According to Shawn and Gladys Williams, the only updates they have received about their son’s death have come from the media.
“It's outrageous that, after over two months, the parents of Antonio Williams still don't even know the names of the NYPD officers who fired 15 bullets at their son, killing him, as well as Officer Brian Mulkeen,” said Loyda Colon, Co-Director of the Justice Committee. “Antonio should be with his family today - by all accounts we've seen so far, the NYPD had no reasonable suspicion to stop him. The Williams family has already been through too much - the fact that they're being forced to rally at City Hall and file legal actions to get basic information about what happened to their son is a further injustice heaped upon the pain of losing their loving son.”
“Antonio Williams should be alive and Officer Brian Mulkeen should be alive today”, said Monifa Bandele, spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform. “Instead, Antonio's family is being forced to take time off work and travel to NYC to fight to get shreds of truth related to the killing of Antonio. It's been more than 10 weeks and not once has the NYPD even claimed that Antonio was doing anything other than standing on the sidewalk when plainclothes officers jumped out at him. Whether he walked away, ran or stood still, he had the right to do so because there was no criminal activity that he was suspected of at the time he was reportedly chased and killed. At minimum, Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD must immediately publicly release the names of all officers involved in killing Antonio and must allow his family to view the multiple body camera footage in full, without edits or redactions.”