Canton, Ohio police, district lawyer, blame victim after body camera footage confirms cop shot James Williams without warning

After a police officer murdered husband and father of six James Williams in his backyard shortly after midnight on January 1, 2022, Canton, Ohio police, in coordination with local media and District Attorney David Yost, are involved in a cover-up to cover up the guilt of the police and contain social anger.

More than a week after a canton police officer shot and killed Williams as he rang in the New Year with ceremonial shots in his backyard, police have not yet released the policeman’s name, let alone brought charges.

This still image from the Canton Police Department body camera video shows officers holding their guns before entering a home in Canton, Ohio on Saturday, January 1, 2022. (Cantonal Police Directorate via AP)

Disturbing police body camera footage released this week shows officers surrounding Williams as he fires his AR15 rifle towards the sky. The footage confirms his widow Marquetta’s account of the events and her first statements to the local press. “Out of the blue he said he was shot,” says Marquetta. “Nobody said anything. You didn’t say ‘police’. They didn’t say ‘freeze’. They didn’t say, ‘Drop your gun.’ You just shot him. “

The footage shows that James did not point his rifle at the police; The weapon is pointed at about 70 degrees to the sky. While the practice of “solemn shots” is illegal within the cantonal city limits, the tradition is generally tolerated by the police on public holidays such as New Year’s Eve and July 4th.

Speaking to the Canton Repository, Marquetta noted that festive shots are common in the neighborhood and for the family: “The kids were watching the countdown and we went outside to shoot guns like everyone else on New Year’s Eve. … We do that every year because it was New Year’s Eve. Everyone (in the neighborhood) shot. It was a tradition. Everyone shoots on New Year’s Eve. ”

Due to the height of the wooden privacy fence around the family yard, the killer cop had no way of knowing what or who they were shooting at. This did not prevent the officer from taking a “shoot first according to regulations” approach, discharging at least seven rounds of his service pistol through the fence, and beating and killing Williams. It was less than eight seconds after Williams began firing his rifle in the air for the officer to fire.

The footage shows that Williams posed no threat to the officer. From the cop’s point of view, Williams is never seen pointing his gun at the police. It seems like Williams didn’t even notice the police were sneaking around his house with guns drawn. No police officers can be heard in the released audio warning Williams or issuing verbal orders. It was only after the policeman shot his gun through the fence and hit and killed Williams that he announced his presence.

Anger is brewing in Canton and across the United States. Outraged family and community members demand #JusticeForJamesWilliams. A candlelight vigil was held in Canton last Wednesday while Black Lives Matter family members and activists marched into the canton police station on Saturday to demand responsibility for James’ death and the dismissal of the unidentified officer.

“I want justice for my husband, and I want this officer to be fired. We need his badge. That doesn’t go under the carpet, “said Marquetta on Saturday in front of the assembled crowd.

The canton’s chief of police, Jack Angelo, defended his officer’s actions and told the canton’s archives: “It is not a requirement and it is not possible for a police officer involved in a shooting to always be able to verbalize himself before going inside of milliseconds reacts when someone fires a shot pistol. “(emphasis added)

He continued, “So it is not always imperative that you have to give a verbal warning, especially if you feel like someone is pointing a gun at you and is about to shoot you, or have already had a shot or two at you has fired ”(emphasis added). In fact, the police have produced no evidence that Williams ever pointed his rifle at the police or fired “a shot or two” at them.

In capitalist America, all a police officer needs to say is that he felt a certain way to be “justified” in carrying out an extrajudicial execution.

Republican Attorney General David Yost accused Williams of his own death and their inalienable right to terrorize and murder the working class with impunity in a widespread interview with the Repository for the “Special Armed Men” on the same day the footage was released warned: “Today is not Judgment Day.”

“It is a stupid and extraordinarily dangerous thing to shoot a gun in the air – and it is a crime and it can be a serious crime, depending on the consequences,” said Yost.

Firing a firearm within the cantonal city limits is anything but a death sentence; it is a fourth degree offense that carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in prison and a fine of 250 US dollars if convicted. Outside the city limits, firing a gun into the air is legal under certain circumstances, according to the repository.

Cynically, Yost, one of 10 Republican attorneys general who backed would-be dictator Trump’s attempts to overthrow Pennsylvania’s electoral votes in the 2020 election, cynically likened it to a soccer game, the public ignoring the corpse on camera footage and trusting it not their eyes.

“How many times have we watched a soccer game and thought it was fiddling and it turned out that the runner was down at a different camera angle or the pass was incomplete or he was out of bounds?” said Jost.

Neither the district attorney nor the canton police have released any additional footage since this interview.

The same article in the repository contained an interview with a longtime former Akron police detective. It is not surprising that the former police officer stood by the prosecutor: “Attorney Yost is right. Don’t let a video dictate your opinion, because the videos often don’t capture the whole story. ”

The fact that Williams’ killer remains nameless and free while allowing cops and district attorneys to blame Williams for his death is the latest example of “class justice” in America. There is no doubt that if anyone had witnessed the policeman’s shooting of Williams and decided to shoot his killer back – out of fear for their lives, no doubt – they would have been arrested, if not “rightly” on the spot would have been killed.

The fact that Williams is African American and that the cop who shot him is apparently white is not evidence of “white supremacy,” as the racists in the Black Lives Matter movement and the Democratic Party argue. There is no evidence that the cop killed Williams because of the color of his skin.

As witnessed in the recent murder of 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta, who was shot and killed by a trigger-happy Los Angeles police officer while buying her quinceañera outfit at a working-class LA mall before Christmas, the police are on it trained to fatally “neutralize” everything she perceives as a “threat”, knowing full well that she has the support of the bourgeois courts and compliant capitalist media, regardless of skin color.

While racist attitudes are undoubtedly cultivated and encouraged in police stations across the country, the over 1,000 people shot and killed by police each year are of all races and ethnicities, mostly working class and poor.

While this does not appear to be the case in this incident, the victims of fatal police violence are overwhelmingly those with untreated mental illness. A 2015 report by the Treatment Advocacy Center found that “at least one in four fatal police encounters ends the life of a person with severe mental illness. At this rate, the risk of being killed in a police incident is 16 times higher for people with untreated mental illness than for other civilians who are hit or stopped by officers. “

Regardless of skin color, mental disability or mental state of those affected by police violence, appeals to the capitalist state for justice are doomed to failure. In the vast majority of cases, demands from the victims’ families and close community members for justice are met with silence and / or cover-up by the government.

This is the case even when the “threat” comes from unarmed young white women, as in the murder of 25-year-old Hannah Fizer by a deputy sheriff’s in Missouri last June. In this case, after months of family protests, a special prosecutor found the shooting justified and refused to bring charges against the officer on the grounds that “there was a reasonable belief that he (the officer) was in imminent danger of serious injury or death “. , as a result of the suspect’s actions. ”

Since there is no question in the Williams case that he fired a gun when the cop killed him, there is no doubt that Yost or a Democratic prosecutor would not come to a similar conclusion.

Ultimately, the struggle to end police violence and hold the murderers of working class victims like Orellana-Peralta, Fizer and Williams accountable requires a struggle to end the capitalist system that the police defend.

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