A man from Everette, Wash., whose family says he was mentally ill, died after being Tased Friday in a Snohomish County jail. The actual cause of death has not yet been determined, but the family of the man is seeking answers.
Bill Williams was brought into jail for stealing items at a gas station, according to KIRO TV. Becoming hostile after being brought to jail for the theft of cigarettes and beer, it is reported that officers used a Taser on the 60-year-old and put him into an isolated cell. When officers later checked on Williams' he was dead. They performed CPR but he was not able to be resuscitated.
NWCN reports the family saying Williams was in his cell for three hours before he was discovered as dead.
"My dad had a name, he had a faced. He was a real person,” Trina Blau, Williams' daughter, said to NWCN. “He was not some piece of garbage to be tased to death.”
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KIRO-TV reports Williams' family saying he was not on his medication. Blau told the station that she believes if officers had spoken with him only a few seconds longer, they would have seen he was not all there mentally. After Williams' arrest Thursday, Blau told KIRO TV that they called 911 asking that her father be taken to a hospital instead of jail.
“I firmly believe my dad would be alive if they would have just taken the time to listen," Blau said.
“His life was so difficult. Anyway for it to end like this, and die alone in his cell, is just incomprehensible. There’s a hospital right there where they could have shot him up with a sedative to figure it out. Instead, they shot him with a Taser and he’s dead," Blau said to KIRO TV.
NWCN reports Everett police officer Aaron Snell saying that the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team is looking into the death and actions taken by officers. Snell said "it's a tough situation," taking action to keep those working and those inside the jail safe.
Williams' family held a candle vigil to raise awareness in their community of what happened.
The actual cause of death is being determined by a medical examiner.
As for the theft at the gas station convenience store, KIRO TV reports Hardep Singh, who was working at the station at the time, saying he had seen Williams before and had no trouble with him legitimately purchasing items.
Security footage from that night though shows Williams grabbing cigarettes over the counter and taking beer. Singh said he was scared during this incident.