Family of Antonio Williams, Killed by NYPD in 2019, Sues The City of New York and NYPD
The family of Antonio Williams announced a lawsuit against the City of New York and NYPD. Announced in a virtual press conference today, the lawsuit aims to seek justice and redress for Williams’ unjust killing and wrongful death. You can read the lawsuit here. Also in the press conference, the family released previously unseen footage from the night of Williams’ death. The footage supports the family’s statements that the NYPD unnecessarily escalated the interaction and recklessly killed Williams and a fellow officer.
Family members present at the virtual press conference included: Shawn & Gladys Williams (Antonio’s father and step-mother); Nicole Johnson (Antonio’s sister); Justin Williams (one of Antonio’s brothers). The family of Antonio Williams was joined by: Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner; the family’s attorneys, Jonathan C. Moore and David Rankin, from Beldock, Levine & Hoffman; Justice Committee; Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) and elected officials, including: Queens Borough President-Elect and departing City Council Public Safety Chair Donovan Richards, NYS Assembly member Michael Blake, NYC Councilmembers Brad Lander, Ben Kallos and Carlos Menchaca.
"It's two days before Thanksgiving and our family is in pain because Antonio will not be with us, his children won't have their father and we don't have our son,” said Shawn & Gladys Williams, father and stepmother of Antonio Williams. “It's even worse because it's been over a year and it seems like Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD just want his murder swept under a rug because they've taken no action to fire the officers who recklessly killed Antonio and another officer. We remember how the NYPD tried to vilify our son and blame him for his own murder. We've seen video where they treat him like an animal instead of a human. Every time we get more information like from the most recent non-NYPD video, we are validated about what we've always known - Antonio should still be alive and these officers should be fired."
“In the more than a year since Antonio Williams was murdered at the hands of the NYPD, his family has experienced a total lack of respect from the Bronx District Attorney's office, Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD,” said Loyda Colon, co-director of the Justice Committee and a spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform. “No family should be forced to wait this long without action and without accountability – especially after living through the NYPD unjustly demonizing their loved one to attempt to excuse the killing. With today’s filing, Antonio’s family is taking matters into their own hands, but it shouldn’t have gotten to this point. The officers who killed Williams should already have been fired for their deadly and illegal stop, escalation and reckless shooting – they are a danger to all New Yorkers. We will continue to fight with the Williams family until these dangerous officers are taken off the force."
“These officers had to know they had no legal reason to stop or chase Mr. Williams,” said Jonathan C. Moore, attorney for the family of Antonio Williams. “Had they just followed their training, both Mr. Williams and Officer Mulkeen would be alive today. This tragedy has needlessly forced Ava and Messiah Williams to grow up without a father. This loss is especially raw for the family with the approaching holidays.”
“There is no reason, legal or otherwise, that an officer should be repeatedly punching Mr. Williams in the head as part of a stop,” David B. Rankin, attorney for the family of Antonio Williams. “The officers’ recklessness astounding. How is it a good idea to start shooting two people wrestling on the ground? How is it a good idea to have officers firing from 20 to 30 yards away in a NYSHA complex?”
"Two lives were lost on that night in September 2019, but one family has been left to grieve while their loved one was demonized in the. Antonio Williams' family deserves the respect and reckoning that real transparency would bring," said Councilmember Brad Lander. "And New Yorkers deserve a city in which police stops without clear reasonable suspicion are not recklessly escalated into confrontations that end with people dying."
“Each time there is a death at the hands of the NYPD, the city must move swiftly to conduct an investigation that is transparent, accountable, and conclusive. It is inexcusable that the full footage of the incident has not been released for review despite the tragic deaths of both Antonio and Officer Mulkeen. Both families and the public deserve justice now. Justice delayed is justice denied,” said Councilmember Carlos Menchaca. "Each day, the trust between the police and our communities erodes exactly because the NYPD protects misconduct and does not hold its officers accountable. We must do better to build trust between the public and law enforcement and it starts with transparency and accountability."
The current lack of transparency and accountability surrounding Williams’ death is yet another failure on the part of Mayor Bill de Blasio to hold the NYPD accountable and provide justice for the lives of Black New Yorkers.