DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- Nearly five months after DeKalb County police shot and killed Matthew Zadok Williams, 35, protesters want the officer involved in the shooting held accountable. They also had a strong message for the police chief.
Williams' mother, Chris A. Lewis, and his sister, Hahnah Williams, said his life was needlessly cut short at the hands of a DeKalb County police officer. "We want to hold Sgt. Devon Perry fully accountable for the death, the murder of my son Matthew Zadok Williams," said Lewis. "The family has suffered the unthinkable when my brother was murdered in his own home on April 12th," Hahnah Williams said.
Police say they responded to a call on April 12, 2021, about a suspicious man holding a knife on Terrace Trail. During an exchange, body cam video shows an officer fired a shot. Williams retreated through a window and into the home. Then, another shot was fired before an officer kicked down the door. Police later indicating it was for Williams' safety, after they had been pleading with him to open the door and drop the knife. Perry then allegedly fired several shots, killing Williams. A superior is heard telling Perry it's his duty to render aid. "After firing those shots, Sgt. Devon Perry told his officers to back off, and they left my brother to die," said Hahnah.
DeKalb Police released this statement:
Five DeKalb County Fire Rescue EMTs and paramedics were on the scene of the crime throughout the incident and inquired about going in to render aid, but were prohibited by DeKalb County Fire Rescue policy from rendering aid until the crime scene was deemed safe by the police department.
Police declined to comment on any other allegations. The family says Williams was having a mental health crisis and they believe police violated several policies. "They should not have kicked his door in once he retreated into his home. They were supposed to activate SWAT and a proper negotiator. They did not do that. Sgt. Devon Perry fired four shots at close range into my brother's home through his front door for no reason at all," Hahnah Williams said. "We want Sgt. Devon Perry to be arrested and prosecuted, and number two, we want him to be terminated," she added.
The family says, so far, Chief Mirtha Ramos has not addressed their concerns. "We are demanding that either DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond make Ramos fire Perry or that Ramos makes her own independent decision to fire Perry," Williams said.
Both DeKalb police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed District Attorney Sherry will determine if Perry will face criminal charges.
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