The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is examining what happened throughout the arrest before the death of a man who consistently told officers that he could not breathe as he was being handcuffed.
The department’s Force Examination Team and Vital Incident Review Group are carrying out investigations into the death of Byron Lee Williams, 50.
The findings will be forwarded to the Clark County District Lawyer’s Office for evaluation, LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank said at an interview Tuesday. According to Hank, Williams’ cause of death will be figured out by the Clark County Coroner’s Workplace.
Williams stopped for a traffic infraction
Just before 6 a.m. on Thursday, LVMPD Officers Benjamin Vazquez and Patrick Campbell noticed Williams riding a bike in the pre-dawn darkness without a light, a traffic law offense, Hank said.
At a gas station, body electronic camera video from one of the officers shows they flagged Williams down and yelled for him to stop, however he removed on the bike. As the officers followed him in their vehicle, Williams dumped the bike and took off running.
Body camera video reveals one of the officers chasing after Williams on foot and breathing heavily as he follows him over walls and into an apartment building where the officer caught up with Williams and purchased him to get on the ground, which Williams did.
According to Hank, it had to do with a quarter of a mile chase.
In the body webcam video footage, the officers battle with Williams to get him to put his arms behind his back.
In the video, Williams appears to keep his left hand in front of him.
Prior to officers handle to get his hands in the handcuffs, Williams says, “I can’t breathe.”
He repeats himself. “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” Williams says.
An officer says Williams is out of breath from running.
” OK, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” Williams states in the footage.
In the footage, Williams is stood up and some products appear to fall from his body. Hank stated the items later on checked positive for methamphetamine and hydrocodone.
Police say a medical unit should be called
According to Hank, Williams’ body went limp as officers attempted to pull him off the ground, however he was still talking and attempting to conceal the fallen drugs with his feet. One officer joked on electronic camera that Williams had “incarcer-itis.”.
On video camera, someone asks if a medical system must be called and officers say it should.
As they carried him to the patrol car, Hank stated, Williams lost consciousness.
Las Vegas City Fire responded and treated Williams in the parking area, Hank stated, then transported him to a nearby healthcare facility where he was noticable dead at around 6:44 a.m.
” There was a time when the electronic cameras went off after they got him over to the police car and they subsequently turned them back on later,” stated Hank. However Hank stated that department policy does permit the officers to turn the camera off at the conclusion of an event or in particular other situations.
Williams’ niece wants to know what happened when the body video cameras were switched off.
” We’re missing out on a lot of footage,” Teena Acree told CNN affiliate KLAS.
Hank stated the officers included will be spoken with to “assess if their electronic camera was deactivated at the suitable or improper time.”.
” So it’s early for me to talk about whether or not those officers deactivated their video cameras inappropriately, or if it was the triggered appropriately,” Hank stated.
The entire incident from the chase to the arrival of the medical response was 14 minutes, Hank stated.
‘ He was altering for the much better’.
Williams, who Hank said is a convicted felon with a long criminal history in California and Nevada, was part of the Clark County Detention Center electronic monitoring program, which needed that he use an ankle tracking bracelet. But Hank said Williams had actually stopped working to sign in August and though he was wearing his ankle bracelet when he was apprehended, he had actually not charged it, so other officers were seeking an arrest warrant for him when he was picked up not having a light on his bike.
” He made bad choices, however think what? He was changing for the much better,” Acree told KLAS. “Being jailed should not turn into somebody dying.”.
” We take the sanctity of life really seriously, and anytime– something like this– it’s really regrettable,” Hank stated.