DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The family of a 35-year-old man who was shot and killed by officers in his home continues to plead with DeKalb County Police to release all the body camera video.
Matthew Zadok Williams was shot after police say he lunged at them with a knife.
His family said he was having a mental health episode.
“Justice for Zadok! Justice for Zadok!” Williams' mom, Chris Ann Lewis is heard shouting to family, friends, and activists who showed up for a vigil Friday evening at Freedom Park.
Joined by Williams’ five sisters, nieces, nephews, and family friends, the group of nearly 100 stood for hours, holding signs and passing out flyers. The flyers contained several ways the community could help the family achieve their goal; ask the police to release all of the body camera videos.
“Let us see the truth. Let the community know the truth,” said Lewis. “He was supposed to carry on my late husband’s name. But they cut off generations.”
Police released two videos to 11Alive which show officers encountering Williams, who a neighbor reported as a “prowler with a knife.” Police said Williams is seen with a blue-colored knife, and at one point lunged at officers. Police have not released any additional video to 11Alive.
In total, officers, who kicked in the door of Williams' home when he went inside, ordered him to drop a knife 47 times.
Vigil for Matthew Zadok Williams
But the family and their attorney, Muwali Davis, believe that something important is missing.
“You know the camera footage they did not release? The officer who fired the fatal shot. Why?” Davis told the crowd. “Justice is complete transparency.”
It’s becoming an all too familiar scene; protests and vigils calling for justice. Many who stood with the family believe William’s death is another reason for police reform in America.
“You are steeping above the law. You are saying you are better than the court system, in the United States of America,” said members of Justice for Georgia.
The family believes Williams, killed inside his home, was having a mental health breakdown. They argue the police should have called in an expert, instead of fatally wounding him.
Family friend and Fulton County Public Defender Devin Franklin agreed.
“My wife has been a social worker for 15 years, she never needed a gun to talk somebody down," Franklin said. "All too often we trust people with a gun on their side to know how to deal with people and mental health."
In one of the videos, an officer is heard yelling, “I’m a Black man. I’m a Black man. You don’t have to die today. I don’t want you to do today.”
To that, Davis said, “If you don’t want to kill him, you don’t have to.”
Williams, the youngest of six, and his mom’s only son. His death confuses his family, who said they simply want to know the whole truth.
“The pain cannot be described. It’s physical, it’s mental, it’s emotional, it’s spiritual," his sister, Hahnah Williams, added. "I feel it from the bottom of my feet all the way to the top of my head. I’ll never be the same. My mother, she doesn’t deserve this.”