weather icon Cloudy

Family of teen killed by police announces plans to file lawsuit

Updated March 4, 2022 - 2:00 pm

The family of a 19-year-old shot and killed in January by Las Vegas police officers announced plans Friday to file a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police Department.

Isaiah Williams was fatally shot Jan. 10 by Metro officers Kerry Kubla, 50, Brice Clements, 36, Alex Gonzales, 39, and James Rothenburg, 39, and Sgt. Russell Backman, 46, while the officers were conducting a search warrant for a murder suspect, Metro said at the time. On Friday, Attorney Justin Moore announced the family’s intent to file a civil suit against the department.

Moore claimed the officers served a no-knock warrant, and after nearly two months of requesting the unedited body camera footage and a copy of the warrant, Moore said Metro attempted to charge the family their usual rate of $280 per hour of footage, and did not provide the warrant.

Footage from the shooting that was released Jan. 13 showed officers knocked several times, announcing themselves as police before breaking down the door. Williams was asleep on the couch when the officer entered and fired multiple shots.

“They broke into this apartment and they killed a man who was not named on the warrant,” Moore said. “That is a grievous mistake. It’s so grievous because we lost a life that shouldn’t have been lost.”

Williams fired 18 shots and the five officers shot a combined 23 times but it was unclear how many bullets hit Williams, who died at the scene.

Kubla and Clements were injured in the shooting, police said at the time.

Williams’ mom, Latia Alexander, said she still had not seen an autopsy, which usually takes up to 12 weeks to prepare. She called her son a loving, devoted older brother who cared for his four siblings while Alexander was at work.

“While the five officers are happily living their lives on paid administrative leave, I can’t sleep at night, missing many days of work due to the horrific dreams of my innocent son being shot and killed by Metro officers,” she said.

Police later said Williams was not the suspect, and the actual suspect surrendered peacefully.

Williams’ family was joined by several local organizations, including Organize the State Out and More Than A Hashtag. Desiree Smith, founder of More Than A Hashtag, listed the things Williams would miss in life by being killed so young, like having a career or getting married.

“He didn’t get a chance to learn from mistakes,” she said. “He didn’t get a chance to change the world. Now the world will never be the same without him.”

Behind the family, Nevada ACLU Executive Director Athar Haseebullah quietly nodded along with speakers’ statements. In an interview after the press conference, Haseebullah said the ACLU also is demanding the documents that results in Williams’ death.

“ACLU Nevada is standing in support of the family of Isaiah Williams and their counsel,” he said. “We too are demanding that LVMPD hand over the warrant that led to Isaiah’s life being taken.”

Moore said they are still investigating the case and did not have an estimated date on when the lawsuit would be filed.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.