DeKALB COUNTY, Ga. - An attorney representing the family of a man killed by police in DeKalb County believes the evidence in the investigation indicates the man was murdered.
The family of 35-year-old Matthew Zadok Williams, shot dead on April 12 on Terrance Trail in Decatur, was having a mental health crisis and owned the property he was accused of burglarizing when police responded to a call that day.
Police said officers shot and killed Williams, 35, after they got a call about a man with a large knife at an apartment complex on Terrace Trail in Decatur. An initial statement from The DeKalb County Police Department said officers were told a man was aggressively wielding a knife at the apartment complex. Police said Williams lunged at officers when one shot and hit him. They later discovered him dead inside, police said.
That narrative isn't truthful, attorney Mawuli Mel Davis said. The Williams family legal team has combed through hours of body cam footage released to the public, Davis said.
He's "convinced" Williams was murdered by police, based on what he saw.
The family of Matthew Zadok Williams and the legal team hold a press conference Wednesday. (Photo: FOX 5 Atlanta)
"What we know as a community is that the first story is usually not the complete story or the right story," he said during a news conference with Williams' family Wednesday.
Williams' family and legal team met with DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston on Wednesday. Davis said the purpose of the meeting for the family's legal team to go through findings discovered in video evidence. He called the release of police body camera footage prior to the conclusion of an investigation "unprecedented."
Attorney Mawuli Mel Davis said the narrative of the officer-involved shooting of Matthew Zadok Williams isn't wholly truthful. (Photo: FOX 5 Atlanta)
Davis said he shared with Boston his belief that Williams was not lunging when police shot him.
Georgia Rep. Renitta Shannon, who coordinated the meeting with Boston, said police officers did not show the same "energy" in dealing with Williams they might have in an altercation with a disgruntled white person.
"What we are asking for is accountability for these officers," Shannon said.
Rep. Renitta Shannon, D-Decatur, speaks during a news conference in the death of Matthew Zadok Williams. (Photo: FOX 5 Atlanta)
A doctor hired by Williams's family said he would likely be alive today if officers aided him after they shot him.
"I do believe it would have been possible," Dr. Jackson Gates said at a news conference held by the family and their legal team Tuesday. "There wasn’t a lot of blood clot, so that gave me the impression that he was not quite dead, and could have been salvageable in my opinion."
Activists held signs, so reading "Justice for Zadok," on Wednesday outside the DeKalb County courthouse. (Chris Francis/FOX 5 Atlanta)
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has not released the findings of its independent autopsy.
"We don't rush the GBI, they are our arm when it comes to investigating shootings," Boston said.
Davis said he believes he will have future meetings with the DeKalb DA's office.
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