Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Murdered Isaiah Tyree Williams
Las Vegas DSA condemns, in the strongest terms, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for the cold-blooded murder and subsequent dehumanization of Isaiah Tyree Williams.
At about 5 a.m. on Jan. 10, LVMPD arrived at Isaiah’s apartment complex in East Las Vegas to serve a search warrant for someone else, and murdered the 19-year-old Isaiah, who was not connected to their investigation in any way. Officers announced themselves once when they arrived. Four seconds later, while announcing themselves a second time, officers threw flash bombs through windows, and forced entry through the front door of the apartment. Isaiah, apparently asleep on a couch just inside the front door, returned fire on the armed intruders pouring into the apartment. LVMPD fired 23 shots, killing Isaiah.
After murdering Isaiah and realizing that he was not the person they were looking for, LVMPD immediately began dehumanizing him during their press conferences, listing off the charges he would have faced for protecting himself during an armed break-in. LVMPD only highlighted that two of their officers were shot, and not how they had murdered a Black teenager. The complicit media repeated these talking points.
These execution raids are common in predominantly Black neighborhoods across the country. Three weeks after Isaiah’s murder, Minneapolis police killed Amir Locke under similar circumstances. This cyclical pattern of injustice must end.
According to MappingPoliceViolence.org, LVMPD has killed 78 people since 2013. This includes Jorge Gomez in 2020 and Byron Williams in 2019. Combined with North Las Vegas and Henderson, over 100 people have died in Southern Nevada because of police deadly force since 2013. Violence is endemic in policing, and our BIPOC community is at a greater risk of harm while police continue to exist.
LVMPD’s budget for fiscal year 2021-22 is nearly $700 million. Via PoliceScorecard.org, the department has received at least $470 million per year since 2010. These funds would better serve our community in the form of free housing, improving our underfunded public school system, and building community-based interventions that address harm without relying on police or prisons.
We firmly believe in defunding and abolishing the police and prisons, and replacing them with services that prevent and repair harm in order to protect our communities. Until then, we support measures that disarm police, redirect police and prison funding to social goods, increase civilian oversight and transparency of police, and offer reparations to victims of police violence that don’t drain from public funds (i.e. paying civil damages from police pensions).
Our thoughts are with Isaiah Tyree Williams’ family, and with every person of color who has to fear that they may find themselves wrongfully victimized or murdered by police. We support Isaiah’s mother, Latia Alexander, in her pursuit of justice and hope our community can soon live without fear of police.