Family Sues NYPD for Wrongful Death after Shooting of Rockland Native

 

By: Joe Kuhn

 

On Tuesday, Nov. 24, the family of Antonio Williams’ held a virtual press conference calling for the firing of the NYPD officers who shot and killed the 27-year-old father and NYPD Officer Brian Mulkeen on Sept 29 2019.  The incident took place after plainclothes officers attempted to arrest Williams for unspecified reasons. Officer Mulkeen was a victim of friendly fire. Williams’ family announced that they have filed a lawsuit with the Bronx Supreme Court which alleges that the shooting “violated New York state law and the NYPD’s departmental regulations.”

The lawsuit is the family’s latest effort in their ongoing call for “transparency and accountability” regarding Williams’s death. During the conference, the family and their legal team unveiled previously unreleased CCTV footage that cast doubt on the NYPD’s version of the events that transpired.

The footage demonstrated that Williams, a Rockland native, was standing on the sidewalk on E. 229th near Laconia Ave. in Edenwald when plain-clothes cops emerged from an unmarked car and called out to him. Williams fled from the unidentified officers, a response the lawsuit stresses is within his legal rights as the officers were not in uniform and failed to identify themselves.

The officers quickly caught up to Williams and tackled him to the ground. Officer Mulkeen and two other officers were seen repeatedly punching a subdued Williams before shots were fired “by at least six NYPD members” according to the suit. The NYPD asserts that Williams was reaching for Mulkeen’s gun before the shooting began.

The family’s lawsuit states that officers had no probable cause to arrest Williams or deem him a threat, and that the NYPD has  “maintained a de facto policy and/or practice of unlawfully stopping and detaining minority NYC residents without reasonable suspicion and/or evidence that a crime had occurred, was occurring, or was about to occur.”

The footage reveals that officers waited almost five minutes to perform CPR on Williams, contradicting the NYPD’s claims that Williams received immediate medical attention after the incident. According to the lawsuit, the officers chose to provide immediate aid to Mulkeen, leaving Williams in pain and “unreasonably delayed providing him emergency medical treatment.” The new footage further shows that, after shooting him, officers still put Williams in handcuffs even though he did not appear to be moving, a tactic that David Rankin, a legal representative for the Williams family, called into question.

“There is zero reasons, one, that you would be performing CPR on someone who is handcuffed because that would make the CPR ineffective. Two, there is no reason to handcuff him in the first place because it doesn’t look like he is moving. And three, they don’t even start CPR until over five minutes after the shooting. If you are going to provide medical care for someone you should do it, of course, immediately.”

 

The NYPD has yet to explain why Williams was approached or what led to the escalated use-of-force—a lack of transparency his family says proves the NYPD recklessly killed him and Mulkeen. When asked for clarification on the matter, NYPD spokeswoman Detective Sophia Mason declined to comment.

“Nothing can bring Antonio back, but over a year later… we have had zero answers and zero accountability and that needs to happen,” his sister, Nicole Williams, said.

“We filed this lawsuit and are fighting for justice because being a Black man standing on the street should not be seen as a crime and Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD are treating the murder of our son as something they can just shove under a rug. Antonio was a loving son, father, brother, and friend. We should be celebrating the holidays with him instead of filing lawsuits and fighting to ensure these dangerous officers are fired,” said Antonio’s father Shawn Williams.

 

Eventually, Williams was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead from gunshot wounds to his head and torso. No officers have been charged or disciplined, and the Bronx District Attorney’s office hasn’t completed their investigation.

 

The Williams family has received “a total lack of respect from the Bronx District Attorney’s office, Mayor de Blasio, and the NYPD,” Loyda Colon, co-director of the Justice Committee and a spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform, said Tuesday. “No family should be forced to wait this long without action and without accountability—especially after living through the NYPD unjustly demonizing their loved one to attempt to excuse the killing.”