An investigation is underway into the alleged police beating of a Monroe homeless man by Monroe policeman as seven others watched. The abuse involved at least eight police officers and was reportedly kept hidden from the public for the last three months of the recent mayoral campaign.
Three months after Timothy Williams was stopped by eight city police in a reported “alarm alert” a criminal investigation into an alleged assault on Williams, that resulted in Williams being sent to the hospital while complaining that the officers kicked him and brutalized him while handcuffed.
Multiple police sources told the Free Press Sunday that a warrant has been issued for one of the alleged attackers, others may follow. But the fact that the arrest details and police cam video was withheld, without investigation, for three months may spark further investigation by the FBI and Justice Department.
The official report
According to the arrest report, on April 21st Williams was stopped in the 400 block of N. 4th Street at about 11:23 p.m. The police and incident reports said the eight officers stopped Williams in response to a burglar alarm report they received. The report says when Williams, produced a fake black semi-automatic handgun that he concealed underneath his shirt in a black leather holster; a claim Williams denied.
The official report says officers attempted to search William for other weapons and a “crack pipe” fell from his shirt pocket and Williams fled the scene, a claim Williams also denies.
The report says Williams then fled and was apprehended a block away at the 400 block of Pine Street and was “escorted” back to 411 N 4th Street (The Newsstar Building). Along the way he was read his Miranda rights, a scenario Williams denies.
The official report then says Acadian Ambulance was called to the scene and Williams was transported to St. Francis Hospital for lacerations he suffered while trying to evade capture, a claim Williams denies.
Minutes later, according to the report, Williams was released from the hospital and subsequently arrested, handcuffed and transported to Ouachita Correctional Center for booking. According to the report the “fake gun and crack pipe.” was logged into evidence.
The report said Body Cam footage of the incident is available.
Williams has a different view
Williams, who is 40 years old, lives in the rear of an empty church building in West Monroe. He has no vehicle and often walks to and fro at night from one location to another.
Like many homeless people in Monroe, he is a regular on the streets late at night and is wary of police because it’s not unusual for black homeless men to be stopped, searched, or harassed at night, even if they have committed no crimes.
On the night of April 21st, Williams said he had left a friend’s house and was walking to the building where he stayed “across the bridge.” He said he was suddenly surrounded by eight officers who scared him.
“The reason they say they stopped me is suspicious activity,” Williams told the Free Press Saturday. “I gave them my bookbag and they started searching my bookbag.”
Williams said he had a toy gun in his backpack that he was taking to his nephew. “It’s a GI-Joe toy gun that lights up.” He said when he was first stopped by police he placed the toy pistol on the hood of a police car so they would not think it was real. “They started playing with it.” The police described the toy as a “fake black semi-auto handgun.”
Williams said he also had a “rose bowl that you buy out of a store with a rose in it and it had no drugs or contents were in it. If they sell it in a store, why would they call it drug paraphernalia.” He said he bought the bowl the same night from a 76 store to use it for air freshener when filled with potpourri.
The official police report said a crack pipe fell from his shirt pocket as they searched him. There was no mention of a potpourri bowl.
Took Off Running
Williams said when he saw himself surrounded by white officers on a dark street late at night and instantly saw images of national assaults of blacks by white police added to his own flashbacks with police. He said he panicked and ran.
“I took off running. I’m scared. After I took off running I realized I can’t outrun them. They in cars some of them chasing me, too. So, I stop, before they even gave me a command. I stop, put my hands up, got down on the ground, face down, put my hands behind my back. Officer came and handcuff me and he started punching me in my back while I was on the ground detained. After that another officer came out of nowhere and started kicking me in my face,” Williams said.
Williams said he should not have run, but even that should not have resulted in the alleged abusive action he suffered.
“I did nothing for them to do that to me. I did not get verbal with them. I didn’t try to fight them physically or nothing. I complied after I ran. They cuffed me and I thought that was supposed to be the end of it, but it wasn’t.”
The official incident report indicated that there were eight officers involved in the arrest of Williams, including officers Smith, Aitken, Payne, Miley, Crowson, Robinson, Thigpen, and Desadier.
Williams said he recalled that it was two officers who stomped him or hit him in the back. He said there was one black officer Martez Miley who did not participate in his abuse
“It was like eight officers there. I don’t actually know how many it was that was whipping up on me, but every time the officer stomped my face, my head hit the concert. I go to sleep. I wake up and he’d stomp me again the other officer kept punching me and beating me. I kept going in and out and in and out of consciousness.”
Williams said the abusive action continued until someone referred to as the supervisor showed up.
“I was coming to and I started seeing hand signals they was letting the other cops know to stop whipping him the supervisor is coming, stop whipping him. Leave him alone.”
Williams said when he finally saw the written police reports he realized that the report had been slanted to make it look as if he was involved in some type of criminal activity, ran, and injured himself.
“The officers tried to say that I fell when he kicked out my tooth. No I didn’t fall, you kicked out my tooth. You did this to me. I did not fall,” Williams said.
“When they got me up off the ground the blonde head officer was going to take me to the car but the one who was stomping in my face said, ‘naw I got him, so he put his arm behind my arm while I was in cuffs and took me to the vehicle and slam me to this car then he said, naw this ain’t the car, took me another, slam me on that one, naw this ain’t the one, took me to another,” Williams said.
Woke up in the Hospital
Williams said didn’t remember the ambulance call because he must have been unconscious.
“I don’t know how I got to the hospital, but I woke up in the hospital and the nurses were treating me for the injuries. The police was gon’ leave me in the hospital and the Lieutenant said he was going to write out a criminal warrant and he would arrest me later and a fugitive from justice warrant and he’ll arrest me later. I said naw, y’all ain’t gon’ do that to me, but if you leave here now that means you trying to cover up for what you have done to me. They were getting ready to leave and get in their car and the only reason I got them to come back is I said something out of line to the nurse and that’s what made them come back and they said, ‘Now you going to jail.’
Williams said he was placed in a padded cell at Ouachita Corrections Center for about 14 days without his epilepsy medications. He said he had three seizures during the time, but received no medication. “That medication is critical; I really need that, it keeps me from having seizures.
On July 17, Williams pled guilty to running from a police officer and to possession of drug paraphernalia. The state dropped the toy gun charge.
After his release, he sought the help of the Pleasant, Williams, and Banks-Miley Law Group, LLC, where his god-sister is one of the three female attorneys in the firm.
Interim Chief Reggie Brown did not return phone calls or texts from the Free Press to explain why no action was taken against the officers involved during the mayoral campaign.
Williams’ lawyers want the officers involved terminated and the police video cams released to the public.
Williams’ lawyers are also the personal attorneys of Interim Chief Reggie Brown.
One of the attorneys in the Williams case told the media this weekend, “I would like to see justice for Timothy and that the Mayor and officials authorize the city [to]release the body cam, original photos, and both of his original statements. We would like the officers terminated and prosecuted for this heinous act.” – Lead Counsel Donecia Banks-Miley.
Interim Police Chief Reggie Brown said the department is taking this “very seriously.”
However, no one has explained why the department delayed taking action on the abuse complaint until after the July 11th mayoral primary.