JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The family of a 35-year-old man who died after being shot six times by a police officer during traffic stop earlier this month has notified the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office that it plans to sue.
At a news conference Thursday, family members of Davinian Williams say they feel his killing was unjust, and they want the state attorney's office to charge the officer who killed him with murder.
Officer Jeff Edwards, a three-year veteran of JSO, fired seven shots at Williams through the back window of Williams' car when he felt threatened, investigators said.
Police said Williams was pulled over on Rogero Road in Arlington about 2:15 a.m. May 9 for driving erratically and running a stop sign, and they said when Williams didn't comply with commands to stop fidgeting, the officer fired.
Williams' family said he didn't have a gun, never opened the door of his car, and they said all he had done at that point was commit a traffic violation. They said he certainly did not deserve to have been shot and killed.
"This was a very law-abiding citizen who had just started work at JaxPort, who had just had a drug test, who was killed for no reason whatsoever except that he was profiled," family attorney Craig Gibbs said.
"Davinian Williams was not any imminent or immediate threat to the officer who shot him," family attorney Rufus Pennington added. "He was not actively resisting arrest, he was not attempting to evade, and the use of deadly force was not justified and was clearly excessive."
Williams was a convicted felon and did have drugs on him when he was killed. His family said he was also a wonderful father and a man who had turned his life around.
Family attorneys say the crux of this case is not about Williams previous convictions before his killiing or the drugs found on him after he was killed. They said it's about what happened in the moments between flashing lights in the rearview mirror and six fatal shots through the back passenger window.
That timing is what Williams' attorneys say makes all the difference. According to an eyewitness, the officer told Williams to put his hands up twice but didn't give him time to comply. Attorneys say that will show Edwards used excessive force.
"We need people to step in. We need this investigation to be thorough, fair," Williams' brother said. "It's not about white or black, it's about justice."
The state attorney's office released this statement Thursday:
"The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the state attorney's office have been investigating since the shooting took place. The investigation is ongoing. It would be inappropriate to comment until the investigation is complete."
Edwards has returned to work and is assigned to a substation in a limited duty status pending the investigation, according to the Sheriff's Office.
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