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LA Deputy Who Shot And Killed Fred Williams Takes The Fifth In Coroner's Inquest

A still from LA County Sheriff's deputy body camera shows a man wearing a white shirt and dark pants holding a gun in his right hand.  He is kneeling on a metal shed surrounded by tires and other debris in a Willowbrook backyard.
A screenshot from a deputy's body camera video released Friday, Oct. 30 by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept.
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The L.A. County Sheriff's deputy who shot and killed Fred Williams refused to testify in today's coroner's inquest, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. His partner refused on the same grounds, and two detectives declined to testify, saying doing so would compromise their investigation.

A coroner’s official testified the 25-year-old Williams was shot once in the upper back, and that the bullet struck both lungs and perforated his aorta. A coroner’s investigator testified there were eight bullet casings on the ground when she arrived — suggesting the deputy fired eight times.

After less than three hours, the hearing officer, retired state appeals court justice Candace Cooper, ended the inquest for the day and said she would review sealed documents provided by the Sheriff’s Department before issuing a ruling.

The shooting of Williams on Oct. 16, 2020, was the first caught on a deputy’s body-worn camera. The department had started outfitting deputies with cameras just weeks earlier.

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The department says deputies spotted Williams with a gun in Mona Park in the South L.A. neighborhood of Willowbrook. Video shows one deputy chasing him into a backyard and shooting him as he is jumping over a fence with what appears to be a gun in his hand.

The deputy said Williams had pointed the weapon at him. The video is unclear on that point.

The Williams family's attorney called the inquest a "charade."

Two deputies and two detectives also refused to testify at last November's inquest into the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Andres Guardado by a deputy last June in Gardena.


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