Charlotte, N.C. – (Thursday, February 2, 2023) – Today, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) released body-worn camera (BWC) video of the interaction that officers and first responders had with Mr. Jovontay Avery Williams (DOB 01/16/1990), that occurred on June 13, 2022. This footage was court ordered for release following a petition.
On June 13, 2022, at 1:58 a.m., a 911 caller in the 300 block of Featherstone Drive stated that she heard multiple gunshots directly outside of her home. The caller, who was hiding in her closet, stated that someone may be attempting to break into her home. Officers responded to the call for service and located a shell casing and signs of a disturbance at the caller's residence.
Shortly after officers arrived, they located the suspect, Jovontay Williams, who was acting erratically. Officers requested MEDIC's response through CMPD dispatch at this time because they realized the signs of medical distress.
Officers observed Williams attempting to break into another home in their presence and used the "soft, empty hands" approach as detailed in CMPD's response to resistance policy to take him into custody.
Charlotte Fire Department and MEDIC responded to the scene to assist. Williams was subsequently transported by MEDIC to Atrium Health University. He was later moved to Atrium Health Cabarrus for more intensive care.
At the scene, officers recovered a firearm belonging to Mr. Williams, along with a shell casing that was determined to have been fired from this firearm. It was also determined that the initial residence was struck by gunfire during the incident.
On June 13, 2022, at 9:56 a.m., Mr. Williams was pronounced deceased while in the care of hospital staff at Atrium Health Cabarrus. Although Mr. Williams died while in the care of medical staff, he was still under arrest and law enforcement personnel were also present. Therefore, this incident is classified as an in-custody death.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI) completed an investigation of this incident. Their results were turned over to the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office. The District Attorney's Office found no evidence of criminal violations by CMPD officers related to this incident. CMPD Internal Affairs also conducted a parallel investigation and concluded that there were no violations of CMPD policy, clearing the officers of any wrongdoing. The full medical examiner's report and toxicology report are still pending.
MEDIC and the Charlotte Fire Department (CFD) are currently engaged in an official Medical Incident Review process regarding Mr. Williams' on-scene care and transport on June 13, 2022.
Charlotte Fire Chief Reginald Johnson released the following statement:
"We take the death of Mr. Williams very seriously and are exploring thoroughly. Everyday, members of Charlotte Fire bravely protect the residents of Charlotte, the place we call home. We are dedicated to our community in service and are resolute in our mission of saving lives. As our community comes together during this difficult time, we hope for peace and healing for the family and loved ones of Mr. Williams."
Mecklenburg EMS Agency (MEDIC) Executive Director John Peterson released the following statement:
"The very reason for Medic's existence is to serve our patients with compassion, and we are honored to do so. We have been entrusted with the health and safety of our community and are committed to the Medical Incident Review process that upholds our high standards of care. To the family and loved ones of Mr. Williams, we express our deepest condolences for your loss."
CMPD Police Chief Johnny Jennings released the following statement:
"Today, we released body-worn camera footage of the interaction on June 13, 2022, between CMPD officers and Mr. Jovontay Williams. Calls for service came in about Mr. Williams shooting into occupied homes and that he was attempting to break and enter into multiple homes. Officers called CMPD dispatch to request medical assistance after observing Mr. Williams was experiencing a medical emergency. They engaged Mr. Williams, took him into custody, and secured Mr. Williams until CFD and MEDIC arrived. Officers went from dealing with a shooting suspect to dealing with someone in a medical emergency and I commend them for being able to transition quickly and manage the suspect as a medical patient in that situation.
I know the subsequent death of Mr. Williams may cause a variety of emotions throughout our community, but I want to ask that our citizens please take a moment to review the totality of the circumstances of this incident which is detailed in our critical incident briefing.
I want to assure our citizens that after thoroughly reviewing the evidence in this case, I am confident that our officers performed their duties appropriately regarding the treatment of Mr. Williams which included seeking a higher level of medical care for him immediately when they realized he was experiencing a medical emergency.
The State Bureau of Investigation investigated this case and determined that CMPD committed no wrongdoing. Internal Affairs also conducted an internal investigation and determined that no policies were violated.
As officers, our sworn duty is to safeguard all lives which we take very seriously. So, when one of our citizens unexpectedly dies, it impacts all of us. It impacts me greatly to know that the Williams' family is going through such an extremely difficult time. My prayers are with his family.
As with any tragedy, the CMPD staff will continue to consistently evaluate our current practices and implement the most advanced training possible to ensure that we are providing the best police services to our community."
For further information on this case please refer to the incident report 20220613-0158-02.
Critical Incident Briefing video breaking down BWC footage & explaining the incident in greater detail: https://youtu.be/Ua0g_9wl2Wg
Link to all of the body-worn camera footage captured in this incident: https://youtu.be/U0becJGmJ20
Video outlining proper techniques for in-custody positioning: https://youtu.be/lwk1ygHa24M