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Family of man fatally shot by DeKalb police speak after meeting with DA about newly-released video

Matthew Zadok Williams was shot and killed by officers on April 12. Officers said he posed a threat, but the family doesn’t believe it.

DECATUR, Ga. — The family of a DeKalb County man who was fatally shot by police spoke to media on the Dekalb County Court House steps after meeting with the District Attorney Wednesday. 

Matthew Zadok William's family is pleading for the DA to hold the Dekalb County Police Department accountable for their loved one's death. The family is now pointing to body cam video that they says shows officers didn't immediately try to help Williams after shooting him.  

Williams was killed during a confrontation with police on April 12th at a home on Terrace Trail in Decatur. DeKalb police say an officer shot Williams after he lunged at them with a knife,  which they had repeatedly told him to drop. But Williams’ family and their attorney are questioning that. Saying from what it has seen of the officers’ body camera video, Williams appears to be crouching, not lunging, when he was shot.

"After they have shot him and left the porch, there is a conversation about whether or not he is bleeding out and they acknowledge ‘oh he might be in there bleeding out’ and then they laugh," explained Mawuli Davis, the attorney representing Matthew William’s family.

11Alive looked closely at the video, but found it was hard to definitively say what exactly happened before the shot based on the angle of the body cameras. The family also claim officers were negligent and didn’t immediately try to go inside the home to help Williams after he was shot pointing to a part in the body cam footage where an officer says, "he could be in there bleeding out".

DeKalb police say they were responding to the home that day after a neighbor reported a prowler. The confrontation with Williams begins outside, but he later runs and goes into the home. For several minutes, the body cam video show officers talking to Williams through the partially open front door, asking him to put down the knife so they can help him. Williams can be heard telling them he’s defending his property. There's a sudden movement and then a shot is fired.

"We’re living in a nightmare," said Williams' sister, Hahnah. "Never would I have thought that my brother would be a hashtag," she said. 

On Instagram, the family has posted pictures of the 35-year-old using #justiceforZadok, which is what his family called him. 

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is still investigating the incident. The GBI told 11 Alive a "knife recovered from the residence appears to be consistent with the knife that was seen on video when the 1st officers arrived."

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