DeKalb County DA says officers who killed man having mental episode won’t be charged

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The DeKalb County District Attorney announced Tuesday that her office will not file charges against the officers who killed Matthew Zadok Williams.

Williams was shot and killed in April 2021 during what has since been described as a mental episode. His family has pushed for charges since his death.

“After review of all the evidence and the facts and the law and body cameras and reviewing all the circumstances we found that use of force was justified under the law,” Sherry Boston said.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

“My son should be alive...my son should be alive,” Williams mother Chris Lewis said.

Lewis stood next to her attorney on Tuesday after learning the Dekalb County officers who shot and killed her son will not be charged.

“The other shameful thing is that these officers have suffered no consequences whatsoever,” Lewis said.

RELATED STORIES:

A neighbor called 911 on the afternoon of April 12 and told police she thought Williams was homeless and lurking around the property.

When DeKalb County police arrived, they encountered Williams inside his own home.

A portion of the police bodycam video showed Williams lunge at an officer with a knife. An officer fired a shot and then video showed Williams run back inside his home.

“Please sir, I’m begging you. I’m a Black man...you’re a Black man. You don’t have to die today,” an officer can be overheard saying on bodycam video.

The family complained that nobody gave Williams aid.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

DeKalb County officials say that is because fire rescue policy prohibits EMT’s from rendering aid at a crime scene, until that scene is deemed safe by the police.

“This is not over. My son’s death will not be in vain. Change will come,” Lewis said.

Lewis’ attorney told Channel 2 that the family will proceed with a civil suit. The family also wants public policy changes in DeKalb County regarding mental health.

RELATED NEWS: