Byron Lee Williams was on riding his bicycle in Las Vegas, Nevada when he was stopped by police. Less than an hour later, he was dead and his family is now speaking out.
On Sept. 5, around 6 a.m., Williams was riding his bike that allegedly didn’t have a safety light. According KTNV, when two officers, Benjamin Vazquez, 27, and Officer Patrick Campbell, 28, tried to stop him, he took off and eventually began running on foot.
The officers were caught him and told Williams to get on the ground. While being cuffed, Williams told the officers he couldn’t breathe. The Las Vegas Sun reports an officer was heard telling him: “Yeah, because you’re tired of (expletive) running.”
Williams was allegedly straddled by one of the officers, who had his knee pinned against Williams. “Pressure on your butt, that’s all,” said one of the officers. Williams continues to complain about not being able to breathe.
“As they were taking him to the patrol car, Williams appeared to pass out. Officers called for assistance and the Las Vegas fire department arrived several minutes later,” KTNV reports.
The 50-year-old later died hospital. Williams was armed and the police claim drugs were on him.
The family is saying the death was unjustified. At a press conference, his daughter said, “Byron Lee Williams did have people who cared about him.” His niece also added, “He was loved, he was a changed man, it needs to be known that he changed his lifestyle.”
At the press conference, where body cam footage was showed, Asst. Sheriff Hank decided to focus on Williams’ “extensive criminal history.” He also claimed he had “absconded from electronic monitoring and police were looking for him.”
Jeffrey E. Thompkin, who is identified as Williams’ stepson, claimed the footage the family saw was “doctored” and “that up to 40 minutes had elapsed between the traffic stop and images that he said showed his stepfather lifeless on the concrete, meaning that he didn’t die on the way to the hospital, as the family was told.”
The officers were placed on routine leave as the family is asking for the investigation to continue. See the press conference below:
Our thought go out to Byron Lee Williams’ friends and family.