A BLACK cyclist who died in police custody was heard saying “I can’t breathe” at least 17 times after Las Vegas cops arrested for cycling without a safety light.
Byron Williams was flagged down by Las Vegas Metro Police officers just before dark on Sept. 5, 2019 after they spotted him riding his bike at around 5:50 am.
Byron Williams, 50, was killed in police custody last September after he was arrested for biking without a safety light[/caption]
Williams can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” at least 17 times before he died, according to bodycam footage[/caption]
The 50-year-old pedaled away from cops when he was told to stop, but he took off running, and a chase ensued for about a quarter-mile.
Bodycam footage released by the Police Department showed officers ordering Williams to the ground and placing him in handcuffs, then kneeling on his back before lifting him upright and hauling him away, NBC News reported.
“I can’t breathe,” he repeatedly tells cops.
“Yeah, because you’re f***ing tired of running,” an officer responds.
About five officers rushed to the scene to aid in the arrest following the chase.
A female officer appears to joke about the arrest as the cops are heard panting after the chase.
“Get your morning workout in, boys?” she asks.
The cops order Williams to stand up after his body appears to go limp, and an officer threatens to drag him if he doesn’t respond.
Williams said the chilling phrase at least 17 times before he died, according to the video.
He was held down on his stomach before he eventually lost consciousness and was pronounced dead at the hospital an hour after being stopped by cops.
None of the officers involved in his death have been charged.
Bodycam footage released by the Las Vegas Police Department appears to show cops ordering Williams to the ground and handcuffing him[/caption]
Police officers kneeled on Williams back and threatened to drag him despite the black man appearing limp, according to the video[/caption]
Authorities launched a probe into the circumstances surrounding his final moments, but by March, prosecutors opted to not charge the cops involved and the case was referred for public review, according to NBC News.
The fatal encounter is one of several police custody deaths that have resurfaced in recent weeks following the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
However, Williams’ case barely made a blip in the news cycle at the time, with only about two dozen people showing up to protest with his family last fall, the news outlet said.
Jeffrey Thompkins, Williams’ stepson, told NBC his family was initially told his stepdad had trouble breathing during his arrest and later died at the hospital.
“But when we watched those videos, it looks like he’s just dead on the ground right there, that he had already died, and for what? Over a damn bicycle light,” he said.
Relatives said they believe Williams’ case went under the radar because police focused on his criminal record when news of his killing emerged.
Williams was found with methamphetamine and prescription pain killers during his arrest.
Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank said the department was in the process of getting an arrest warrant for the black cyclist when he was stopped for the bike violation.
Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank said the department was in the process of getting an arrest warrant for Williams when he was stopped[/caption]
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The deadly encounter, including the chase and arrival of the paramedics, occurred within 14 minutes, Hank said.
A police spokesman told the news station Williams’ case is still under investigation.
The Office of Internal Oversight as well as the police department’s investigation team is still in the process of completing a report on the incident, according to NBC.