Canton, OH — As TFTP reported this week, James Williams, 46, spent his last seconds on Earth wondering who shot him during their family's celebration to bring in the New Year. The family would later find that a Canton police officer took aim as Williams stood on the other side of his privacy fence, in his own back yard, and executed this innocent father of six without warning. His wife and children watched him take his last breaths.
After much public outcry, police released the body camera footage and it confirms that the cop gave no warning before shooting Williams dead in front of his wife and children.
According to his wife, Marquetta Williams, they had a tradition every year when they and the rest of their neighbors would fire off celebratory rounds from their legally owned AR-15. While this is an irresponsible practice, as the bullet can cause severe injury when it comes back down, countless folks fire off guns every 4th of July and New Year's Eve — and they aren't executed by police.
As the body camera footage shows, however, Williams was the exception. According to the footage, the officer approached the tall privacy fence as the sound of multiple gunshots ring out. Instead of saying, "stop, police!" or even announcing himself at all, the cop walks up to the fence and starts blasting.
Only after executing Williams in his back yard does the cop yell, “Police, get down now! Police, Get down now!”
After executing Williams, the cop takes cover behind his cruiser before yelling at Williams' dying body to "show me your f**king hands!"
Williams was executed for a family tradition.
As we reported on Thursday, Marquetta told the Canton Repository that their daughters were watching TV "when the ball dropped" and the adults got up to go outside. Marquetta, who is a concealed carry permit holder, grabbed the family's AR-15 to carry out the New Year's Eve tradition.
"The kids were watching the countdown and we were going outside to shoot guns like everybody else does at New Year's," she said, explaining that lots of other folks in the neighborhood were doing the exact same thing.
"We do this every year because it was New Year's Eve," she said. "Everybody (in the neighborhood) was shooting. It was a tradition. Everybody shoots on New Year's Eve."
Marquetta was standing right next to her husband when he squeezed off four rounds to ring in the new year. Those four rounds are visible on the police body camera footage.
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Seconds later, he'd have a bullet in his chest. What should have been, at most, a misdemeanor citation for firing a gun in city limits, immediately turned into the death penalty, carried out via public execution. Luckily, this murderous cop's bullets didn't hit Marquetta or any of their children.
"Out of the blue, he said he got shot, he got hit," she said. "I don't know where it came from. Nobody said anything. They didn't say, 'Police.' They didn't say, 'Freeze.' They didn't say, 'Drop your weapon.' They just shot him."
"I could see the blood splattering across his shirt," she said. "He collapsed in the living room."
Marquetta immediately called police to tell them that someone had shot her husband and as she walked out of the front door, she was met by multiple cops pointing their AR-15s at her and her children.
In the 911 call released to the media, Marquetta could be heard telling the dispatcher that her husband had been shot. They had no idea why until they saw the heavily armed officers out front.
“Everyone on the ground. Out here, on the sidewalk, on the ground,” yells the cop who just executed Williams.
"He's bleeding. He's in there," yells Marquetta, trying to get help for her husband. But it was too late.
The chief issued a news release Saturday saying that Williams was armed when police responded at 12:06 a.m. to gunfire at his house in the 2300 block of 10th Street SW. The release said "... the officer, who was outside of his vehicle, confronted a subject that began shooting a firearm. The officer, in fear for his safety, fired his duty weapon at the subject and struck him."
As James was in his backyard, there is no way for the officer to have "confronted" him so that claim is simply not true. What's more, as Marquetta pointed out, the officer said nothing before he opened fire — on the other side of a fence through which he could not see.
“You can’t see in. You can’t see out,” she said. “We didn’t know who it was when it happened because nobody said anything. They didn’t say, ‘Stop, freeze, police!’ Nothing, they just shot him,” she said.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is handling the incident and the unnamed officer remains on paid vacation. Below is that video, warning, it is graphic.