BARROW COUNTY, Ga. – Footage from a handheld camera recorded by Barrow County Sheriff’s Office showed what happened prior to a man’s death while in custody.
On January 27, 30-year-old Charles “Charlie” Williams was being moved from one facility to the Barrow County Detention Center around 2:30 that afternoon. Williams was already under arrest through the Auburn Police Department for charges of battery and cruelty to children, related to a physical confrontation in Auburn, Georgia.
The GBI said Williams “became combative before making it into the jail. He fought with deputies for several moments and did damage to the patrol car he was transported in.”
In the video, you can see Williams thrashing inside one of the deputies’ vehicles. One deputy was heard telling Williams, “you’re going to be tased if you don’t cooperate, you will be tased if you don’t cooperate.”
Deputies tased Williams once as they opened one of the vehicle’s doors. As Williams continued to struggle out of the vehicle, the video showed five deputies attempting to restrain him.
Williams is heard yelling, “Help me father. Father help me!” as he’s taken out of the vehicle.
The video showed Williams struggle with the deputies for over six minutes before going quiet. After a few moments, you can hear a deputy say they might need a medic and telling Williams to “wake up.”
Around the eight-minute mark, a deputy says to start CPR before the video ends.
Deputies reportedly attempted to revive him with emergency medical treatment but he never regained consciousness. Williams never made it inside the jail and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
While an autopsy has been completed, the medical examiner has not released the cause of death for Williams.
Rod Dixon, the Williams family’s attorney, released a statement after the video was released saying:
I”n situations like this, where someone dies in police custody, it is important not to rush to judgment. At the same time, it is important to examine the actions of law enforcement officers to ensure the protection of life. While this video answers some questions about how Charlie died, it raises others. Why was the use of the taser so immediate? Clearly, they did not give Charlie the opportunity to exit the vehicle before utilizing the device. Upon what part of Charlie’s body was it deployed? How many times did they tase him?
Important is the issue of why over two minutes elapsed between the time the officers notice Charlie is unresponsive to the time when they flip him over and realize the need to perform CPR.
We will continue to gather evidence and evaluate the nature of Charlie’s death. I hope the law enforcement officers acted reasonably and according to established policy and procedure. I never want to see anyone die unnecessarily.”
Dixon had previously released this statement to 11Alive on what led to the arrest:
“Only that someone convinced him that the woman across the street was abusing her kids. He apparently saw the woman and, believing the kids were in distress, went to confront her. My understanding is that at some point he pushed her. Nothing that causes significant physical harm. But it was in front of the kids. So the battery charge for the lady, and the child cruelty charge for doing that in front of the kids. By no account did he touch the kids. He actually thought he was helping them. And the situation escalated.”