Judge grants release of RPD bodycam in Darryl Williams case

Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Judge grants release of RPD bodycam in Darryl Williams case
Darryl Williams was in Raleigh police custody when his heart stopped beating after being tased multiple times in January.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Wake County judge granted the release of Raleigh Police body-cam footage from last month's in-custody death of Raleigh man Darryl Williams.

Williams was tased three times during the encounter, in which police attempted to arrest him for drug possession. According to the five-day report, Williams became combative and was able to get away from officers after he was struck by a stun gun the first time. After officers caught up with him again, they tased him twice in "drive stun mode," meaning the stun gun was in direct contact with his body. After the first drive-stun, Williams shouted "I have heart problems."

"There is something fundamentally wrong when the outcome of a, not even a traffic stop, literally an unprovoked interaction with law enforcement results in death. That in and of itself tells me all that I need to know about how wrong this situation was handled and how badly RPD needs oversight and accountability," said attorney Dawn Blagrove, who is Executive Director of Emancipate NC.

Blagrove was part of a group of speakers who issued a list of demands to Raleigh City Council during its meeting Tuesday night, some of which were actionable, others symbolic, all of which called for varying levels of police reform and accountability.

"What we want to see in the city of Raleigh is investment in alternatives to law enforcement, not enhancements to law enforcement, not changes to law enforcement," Blagrove said.

She voiced her support for measures to improve access to housing, employment, health care, and education in an effort to reduce crimes.

"What we want to see happen is to have a much more holistic approach to addressing the harms and the trauma that exists in communities that does not start and end with the carceral system.

The list included:

  • Firing officers involved in Williams' death
  • Stopping proactive patrols
  • Pausing use of tasers until officers prove they are operating within their policies
  • Requiring officers to carry liability insurance
  • Funding a non-law enforcement team to respond to mental health crisis calls

Raleigh Police were engaging in proactive patrols during their encounter with Williams.

"While I appreciate that that there may be community concerns about policing and about higher rates of crime, what we know is that proactive policing, a.k.a. stop and frisk, is a very lazy way to do it, and it is proven to be ineffective and impacting the rate of crime," said Blagrove.

She pointed to the HEART program in Durham as a unit that should be explored in Raleigh, which was also referenced in the set handed to city leaders.

"I think a lot of people understand that we need to be proactive about the concerns and that we have a place and time right now to be really effective," said District A Council Member Mary Black.

Black, who is in her first term, was part of a 7-0 vote to review the demands; she issued a motion to move it to the Human Rights Commission to see if they can create a committee to further look into it.

"I would like to see just alternative community safety models that implement and make mental health foundational to that. And we have programs that can be built out more. So I think it starts with building with what we have and seeing figuring out how we can make that more effective and more relative," said Black.

Judge A. Graham Shirley granted Raleigh Police's motion to obscure images of uninvolved bystanders as well as Williams' face in the videos, which are set to be released Friday.