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October 22, 2019

Dear Steve Wolfson, Clark County District Attorney,

Last Thursday the Clark County Coroner’s Office ruled the death of Byron Williams a homicide.  

In the early morning of September 5th, by MLK Blvd and W. Bonanza Rd, Williams was riding his bicycle.  A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police cruiser saw him cycle by and attempted to pull him over because they did not see a light on Williams’ bicycle.  Williams attempted to flee by ditching the bicycle and began to run.  The officers ran after him, yelled demands at him, and Williams surrendered by getting down on the ground.  As he laid on the ground, the two officers pinned him down with their knees in his lower back.  Williams began uttering, “I can’t breathe,” during his arrest.  He said, “I can’t breathe” at least 22 times.  The officers on scene not only ignored his pleas for help, but were found jeering and congratulating each other for catching Williams and making derogatory remarks at him while he was suffering a medical crisis, including, “He has incarcer-itis,” and “Ain’t no one comin’ for you.”

Multiple body worn cameras were also turned off while Williams was having the medical emergency that cost him his life.  Within an hour and a half of being apprehended, Williams was dead.  

LVMPD released a heavily edited and redacted version of the body worn camera footage to the public.  The family was privy to seeing around 60 minutes of footage from multiple cameras whereas the public’s version was less than 5 minutes long.  What they saw after the officers picked Williams up was that the officers placed him face down on the ground again.  Prone restraint was one of the contributing factors to his death:  that is, restraining someone on the ground face down.  Simple First Aid training states that when a person is having breathing problems, you do not move them, and if you do move them, you move them very carefully on their side and inspect if something is blocking their airway.  

As a public, as taxpayers, and as those who have been directly impacted by police misconduct and violence, we expect a much higher standard of professionalism from our police officers.  We also expect our district attorney, Steve Wolfson, who is elected by the people, to act in accordance with the community’s wishes.

We are urgently demanding the Clark County DA’s Office to immediately indict LVMPD officers Benjamin Vazquez and Patrick Campbell, and the remaining officers on scene for the homicide of Byron Williams.  


The Las Vegas Community and beyond