DA Todd Williams to file no charges in fatal police shooting of Jai “Jerry” Williams

District Attorney Todd Williams points out "substance consistent with blood" on the stock of the rifle recovered where Jerry Williams was mortally shot. Photo by Able Allen

No charges will be filed against Asheville Police Department Sgt. Tyler Radford for shooting and killing local man Jai Lateef Solveig (Jerry) Williams. Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams says an investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation has revealed that Radford acted lawfully and justifiably in self defense.

On a very cold Thursday afternoon, Dec. 15, DA Williams held a press conference in the United States Courthouse in Asheville to announce the long-awaited SBI findings and the actions planned by the DA’s office in response to them.

Earlier in the day DA Williams had met with Jerry Williams’ family to explain his conclusions. The DA opened the press conference by saying, “We do hope that [the release of information] brings them closure. I hope that the manner of Jerry Williams’ death does not overshadow his life.”

The shooting was followed by grief and outrage, and it sparked protests and controversy around police use of force.

The events leading to the fatal encounter between Jerry Williams and the police officer began at Deaverview Apartments a little after 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 2. The period of time between the moment Williams first fired a weapon at one housing complex until he was killed at another was less than 15 minutes. Police revealed little about the events of those few minutes to the public after Williams’ death. Even as questions mounted in the community, the SBI took the reins of a nearly four-month-long investigation to discover and assemble evidence about what happened.

On Oct. 28, the SBI submitted its comprehensive investigation and report to DA Williams. The submission included more than 900 pages of written documentation, hundreds of digital photographs and multiple hours of audio and video recordings. DA Williams then took six weeks to review the case and decide how to proceed.

He announced his conclusion Thursday in what he called an “unprecedented release of information of key facts that informed the decision.” In all the compiled data, he said he found “witness testimony therein that entirely supports and is consistent with officer Radford’s testimony and a wealth of corroborating documentary evidence.” He said he felt the thorough disclosure was necessary because of the national discussion concurrent with the local discussion about police use of force and officer-involved shootings. He also released supporting documentation, audio and images to the public, which can be found here.

In the car

According to the summary provided by DA Williams, Radford encountered Williams on the way to a call for service at Pisgah View Apartments where, according to eyewitnesses, Williams had discharged a rifle while attempting to recover a cellphone from another individual. He left the scene in a white 1990 Chevrolet Caprice, which witnesses mistakenly identified as a Cadillac. Radford reported pursuing Williams at speeds exceeding 70 miles per hour. The pursuit ended at Deaverview Apartments. As Williams exited the car and appeared to make ready to shoot the police officer, Radford shot him with a rifle.

Evidence to support Radford’s testimony came in the form of statements from two passengers riding in Williams’ vehicle moments before his death, referred to in the report as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2. The front seat passenger, Doe 1, was in a relationship with Jerry Williams and remained in the car throughout the event, according to the report. Doe 1’s one-year-old child rode in a car seat behind Williams.

According to the synopsis of the interview with Doe 1, who was in the front seat when Williams was shot next to the car, she stated that when the vehicle stopped, “the officer was giving commands to ‘put their hands up,’ however, no one complied with the commands …” and “‘as soon as he [the officer] said that, he [Mr. Williams] went and reached for the gun.’ When Doe 1 realized Williams’ intentions, she said she grabbed the gun ‘because [she] seen the butt of it’ to prevent him from gaining control of the weapon. She stated that during the struggle over the gun she told Williams, “My baby’s in the car, just stop, just stop, just stop.”

Doe 2, who was riding in the back seat with the infant, removed the child from the car as Doe 1 struggled with Williams. Doe 2 exited through the rear passenger-side door and carried the child into some bushes several feet away.

Interviews with these two witnesses were conducted immediately after the shooting happened, even before Radford’s formal interview, which took place the next morning. According to Doe 1 and Doe 2’s accounts, over the course of the incident they both asked Williams to stop the car before they reached Deaverview. Both said they heard him remark that he was “not going to jail,” or “not going back to jail.”

Shot

According to Doe 1’s account, after Doe 2 left the car with the young child, Williams also exited the car and opened the driver’s side rear door. His rifle fell out on the ground and he picked it up “like he was going to shoot or something,” Doe 1 said. Radford then shot Williams and Williams fell to the ground. Both Doe 1 and Doe 2 said that they thought Williams was trying to shoot Radford. Doe 2 did not witness the actual shooting.

A third witness, Jane Doe 3, observed the car’s arrival at Deaverview Apartments and the subsequent confrontation with Radford. In an interview conducted two days after the shooting, she said she saw the driver hitting the female passenger (Doe 1) as she screamed for her child. She saw Williams get out of the car, open the rear door and reach through the gap between the door and the vehicle to pull out a gun (which she described as larger than a pistol). At that point, she said, Williams was shot. She also said that Williams looked like he was moving with purpose, as if to hurt someone, and that he ignored Radford’s commands to “Put your hands up!”

DA Williams said that the law which allows Radford’s action in the face of a threat to his own life or that of other bystanders is rooted in the same law that allows any person to kill in self-defense.

Asheville Police Chief Tammy Hooper was on hand at the press conference. She did not discuss specifics of the case while it was under investigation, and she did not make a statement during the press conference. Hooper did add to the question-and-answer session afterwards, saying that in her opinion no form of deescalation tactic would have effectively managed the situation with Jerry Williams poised to fire on Radford. She also said that Radford will remain on leave while the APD’s internal administrative investigation is completed. She expressed hope that the administrative investigation will conclude before the end of the year.

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About Able Allen
Able studied political science and history at Warren Wilson College. He enjoys travel, dance, games, theater, blacksmithing and the great outdoors. Follow me @AbleLAllen

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34 thoughts on “DA Todd Williams to file no charges in fatal police shooting of Jai “Jerry” Williams

  1. Amused

    Idiot social justice warriors will hopefully shut up about this now.

        • Phil Williams

          Now when did you ever let that stop your gob? Figured you’d come to the surface sooner than later – if nothing else, you are at least predictable!

    • Phil Williams

      Mebbe not – I got an email that Mr. Rocker (or Mr. Boat?) replied, but apparently the admins are vetting his note for appropriateness…..this is rather like fly fishing…

      • boatrocker

        Phil, if you need some advice about incorporating subtle humor into your posts, just ask, as your humor makes Molton’s cartoons look like Golden Era Seinfeld or late 70’s Saturday Night Live.

        We’re here for you, brother.

        It’s boatrocker, yet again. A kayaking thing.

        • Phil Williams

          Sorry Mate, the advice probably wouldn’t take as I am too sot in my ways – I am about as subtle as a cavalry charge – the good thing is that, at least most folks know where they stand with me.

          • The Real World

            “as subtle as a cavalry charge – the good thing is that, at least most folks know where they stand with me.” — That’s me too, Phil! Plainspoken, it’s a good thing and I like it.

          • Phil Williams

            Mr. Real World – Yep – I don’t do hidden meanings, double entendre, and dancing around issues very well. I figured my first note would bring Mr. Rocker or one of his brethren to the surface, though. They “gave up on justice”, you know. I am not by any means glad that anyone had to die – but I think the SJW crowd kind of got ahead of themselves on this particular case. Now that the officer is vindicated, they have nothing much to say – except the Rocker, who has something to say about everything.

          • The Real World

            Who says I’m a Mr.? Don’t you know that there are at least 31 genders to choose from in this “evolved” century? http://dailycaller.com/2016/05/24/new-york-city-lets-you-choose-from-31-different-gender-identities/

            The fact that you are not aware of my myriad choices has triggered me, I don’t feel safe and must immediately seek counseling (which, hopefully, includes coloring books, play-doh, massage and a fifth of whiskey).

            I’m sending you the bill, Phil. Which is only right because you are bad. (I’m also going to inform Santa that you deserve just lumps of coal this year). Merry Christmas.

          • The Real World

            By the way, Phil — I choose this one from the list: “gender gifted”.

            Yea, that sounds right plus it keeps everyone guessing what body parts I have and which gender I like to spend time with (wink). Hint: this one is especially useful for that: “pangender”

          • Phil Williams

            Oh Nooooo! See there how unsubtle – and naturally insensitive – I am? Der Kringle knows this already….I have been on the coal delivery list for a long time! Will spring for the fifth – provided we split it – I am partial to Bulliet rye myself!

          • boatrocker

            Funny, the cavalry charge most folks think of when cheering for the death of a man at the hands of the police would be
            General Custer, minus his scalp.

            Justice, as stated above, seems to be in short supply when the police are involved.
            However, if this incident occurred at the Biltmore or in a gated community to Joe Suburbanite, I’m sure toddlers would shriek for weeks online.

          • Phil Williams

            The cavalry charge referred to in this case is only an admitted metaphor for my own subtlety…and you make a terrible assumption if you really think that anyone is cheering over this unfortunate man’s death or the grief that his family is undergoing.

            However, his actions, regardless of his motivations, had deadly consequences. And the police officer – in this case – was not at fault, and most reasonable people concur now that all of the information is public. The officer’s job was to react to and neutralize a threat, and he did his job.

            As for the potential for a similar incident “at the Biltmore or in a gated community to Joe Suburbanite” – yes, doubtless there would be an investigation – but the Police have not had to be summoned to any of those addresses that I can recall – not to deal with a gunman, anyway – so your statement regarding who would be shrieking and why is, at this point, purely conjecture on your part.

            The problem is not the Police doing their duty of protecting the public. It is the poverty, drug use, etc., that have lead to this tragic situation and others in similar neighborhoods across the country.

          • boatrocker

            Oooooh, a cavalry metaphor from Phil, the nuts and bolts writer who never resorts to articulate expressions in one’s native tongue.
            Fancy dancy, you!

            See what happens when you don’t sleep through high school English class?
            There’s now 12 or 36 or 48 crayons in the box vs. just (grunting) “Cops always good, hippie watchdogs bad”.

            Golf clap.

          • Phil Williams

            Nuts and bolts have generally served me better than ruffles and flourishes – and attempts to use subtle humor would get me chewed out by those for whom I do most of my writing.

            I certainly don’t claim to be any kind of writer except that I try to be a fairly lucid and concise one. An occasional metaphor usually doesn’t hurt and I do use them now and then.

            In this particular discussion, trying to emulate “Golden Era Seinfeld” or vintage SNL never occurred to me. No intentional attempts at humor here, save that which was directed at me and thee….

      • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

        That would be Mr. Rocker. First name? Awfiz.

    • Mike

      Witness statements are commonly unintentionally wrong and/or outright lies (as in “hands up don’t shoot”).

      • Phil Williams

        Yes, but unfortunately, the Press latches onto it and the part of the public that is getting what it wants to hear commences to chanting it over and over. And then, when the true details are finally brought out, the news goes silent, and the SJWs wander off muttering about conspiracies……Noticed that even Mr. Boyle’s AC-T article on the case actually contained some common sense this time – doubtless because he’s been paid off as part of the conspiracy.

        • boatrocker

          Until it happens to your child, and suddenly you care about flagrant abuses of power at the hands of the police.

          But don’t worry about that, as it could never, ever, ever happen to someone you love.

          The SJW types you obsess about are a Limbaugh-esque fabrication.

          Rather it is just plain folks demanding not to be gunned down by dirty cops.

          Apparently that is too much to ask of our LEO types.

          • Phil Williams

            And where has it been proven that this case was a “flagrant abuse of power at the hands of the police”? Do you really think that this officer just decided that he wanted to shoot a black person that day and fired a gun in the air and started chasing the car with Williams (and two witnesses) in it, shot Williams for no reason, planted the gun with Williams’ DNA on it at the scene, then coerced the two witnesses to “play ball” and back up his story – all in the few moments it took for this to unfold?

            Whether this ever happens to my child and how I might feel about it is irrelevant to this case. Best to stick to the facts of what happened than to go throwing out theories about “what if” it happened to somebody else in a different neighborhood.

  2. Phil Williams

    And no, the SJW types are by no means a fabrication. They have displayed themselves, their methods and their attitudes in all their glory, all by themselves, and without the help of Rush Limbaugh or his clones. I’d go as far as to say that your imaginary SJWs, in their own special way, helped to bring about the result of this election.

      • Phil Williams

        Ah yes….that monopoly that you alone must hold on truth…I forgot about that….

      • Phil Williams

        And again, I ask you to present your evidence that the officer was a “dirty cop” who murdered Mr. Williams. You give the impression that you were there and witnessed the whole incident.

        • boatrocker

          I gave no such impression unless you’d care to specifically use an example from any posts of mine. The case itself merely shines a light on a lil ol problem we seem to have in this country with cops playing judge, jury and executioner. I’ve said it many times, but the Patriot Act seemed to have been the catalyst for the idea that we don’t need any civil liberties but do need cops to be above the law.

          The fact that anybody can film naughty cops nowadays also has them scared enough to pass laws outlawing footage being used in a court of law.
          Nothing to hide there, obviously.

          As for the what if game, it seems that I gave some of the law and order types on this board nightmares.
          (Non existent) voter fraud as well as Petey Pedophile in a womens’ bathroom sounds a bit what if game, for never happening too.

          And for dancing around an issue, another man has died at the hands of the police and is mocked by the likes of KD and Deplorable Inf.
          Way to demonstrate that weakness known as compassion, guys. I guess you ‘won’.

          • Phil Williams

            You references to “flagrant abuses of power at the hands of the police” and “plain folks demanding not to be gunned down by dirty cops” and your first note that “we just gave up on justice” – all seem to refer to this case.

            And you gave that impression – again – in your last comment. You talk about “cops playing judge, jury and executioner.”

            If you are referring to other cases, why don’t you say so? If you were not there, why do you say such things if you ARE referring to this case?

            I reckon you must have again confounded me with your subtlety and writing skill – alas, that is not much of a victory, as I am pretty easily confusticated (yes, I made up that word), being a nuts and bolts kind of guy. Definitely not all “fancy dancy” and doing the cute little sound effects that set you apart from others.

            As for you giving anyone nightmares – speaking strictly for myself – not even close, laddie. I don’t spar with the fellows you talked about because they never engage me – whereas with you – I cast out a line about hearing crickets, and you predictably rise to the occasion.

            I only mentioned the nom de plume that you snipe from behind when I received an email from the Mtn Xpress that you had responded – but apparently they vet your comments because of the reputation you’ve made for yourself.

            Golly Gee – I feel like of like Big Billy Goat Gruff, “trap-trap-trapping” across your bridge!!

          • boatrocker

            Be oh so thankful that you only occasionally post here.

            Otherwise, you might have to become familiar with the denizens of the swamp
            (Rich Little type impressions occur)
            “Arrrrrg, lulz, lol, teachers/school bad, Tea Party Gooood!”
            “If only you were as well versed as me, and understood about this real world we live in, yet I’m scared to criticize der fuhrer”
            “I just try to get along (wink), but lemme use a code word for ‘they never finished what they started for the Holocaust”,but all my friends are from not my tribe”, (snow in the weather forecast)
            “Ve-gan ve-gan ve-gan Jim Jones pass the kool aid! And here’s a death threat if you disagree!”
            ” Ohhh no, I never expected (sniff, tears) him to win”
            “Hotels! Hotels!- The $400per night cure to a nice little town”
            ‘Thuggy thug low riding pants dance on brown people graves!”
            ‘”Hey Ayn Rand, you lookin sooo good tonight, wanna prove unregulated capitalism is a virulent disease with me?”
            “So here’s how crystals heal the like whole universe, but eye roll for science, and here’s the link to my website to sell you hokum”
            “According to my (posted) link to my 4chan buddy, wemust fight back against white genocide”
            “The world is wrong because of Hillllllary/eeeeeemails”

            That has been my impression for this forum for reading posts for much longer than anyone else here except for the old schoolers,
            blisset, nfb, The guy who uses a close up of an eye, et al.

          • boatrocker

            Crap, I almost forgot
            “Soros! Alinsky! Jews who write!”

          • Phil Williams

            You pretty much lost me there, mate…..but as I said before, I get lost pretty easily, rough old simpleton/believer/troglodyte that I am. But the gist of it seems to be that you are the lone voice of reason, crying in the wilderness. Or perhaps the one-man social conscience of WNC – a reg’lar Jiminy Cricket??

            All of the new Internet-speak and acronyms kind of aggravate me as I hate having to look them up to see what they mean.

            Perhaps we “quaint anachronisms” ought to find a warm corner and lie down, especially now that conversing with the “Big Boys” seems to require subtlety, insults, blanket statements and plain old raving – and those irritating acronyms – and no, I am not just referring to you – there are a mighty lot of folks on here who appear to take themselves and their precious opinions awfully seriously….

            Ah well – as on another thread, I do wish you all the joy of the season, whatever aspect of it tickles your innards and makes you a better person!

  3. KD

    Live by the sword, die by the sword…Hope Mr. Williams was right with Messiah Yeshua before he was sent into eternity by that police man…tragic and pointless death all the way around.

  4. Deplorable Infidel

    I’ve been wondering the history of Mr. Williams’ given name ? Such a combination of different word origins, ‘Jai’, is it ‘Ji’, as in ‘I’, or ‘Jay’ ? French Polynesian origin? Solveig is probably Germanic which denotes familial connection, right ? Lateef suggests mooslim origins. I love linguistics.

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