Stark County grand jury: No indictment for officer on New Year’s Day shooting

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 3:06 PM EDT
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STARK COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - The Stark County Prosecutor announced the grand jury decision on an officer-involved shooting that took place on New Years Day.

The press conference took place at 4 p.m. where it was announced that Officer Hubert was not indicted with the shooting of James Williams.

No further action will be taken by the Stark County Prosecutor.

In an initial press release following the incident, the Canton Police Department stated:

“When the officer, who was outside of his vehicle, confronted a subject that began shooting a firearm. The officer, in fear for his safety, fired his duty weapon at the subject and struck him.”

The man who was shot by the officer was identified as James “Roe” Williams.

According to police, Williams was taken to an area hospital where he eventually died from the gunshot wounds.

Williams’ wife Marquetta told 19 News they were in their backyard ringing in the New Year when the officer opened fire.

“My husband and I both went out there to shoot guns in the air, like everybody does to celebrate,” Williams said.

Marquetta said her husband was behind the 6-foot high wooden privacy fence at the time.

“You can’t see in. You can’t see out,” she said. “We didn’t know who it was when it happened because nobody said anything. They didn’t say: ‘Stop, freeze, police!’ Nothing, they just shot him,” she told 19 News.

In the police video, the officer is seen approaching the fence after hearing the gunshots. He then fires away into the fence. However, no warning or command is heard being given by the officer until after the cop pulls the trigger.

Williams’ wife is now demanding justice, telling 19 News her husband was the one placed in an unsafe situation by police.

Robert Meeker Attorney for the Williams family released a statement about the decision:

Over the past two weeks, the Stark County Prosecutor presented the tragic death of James Williams by Canton Police Officer Robert Huber to the Stark County Grand Jury. Today, the Williams family is deeply disappointed in the decision not to criminally indict Officer Huber. Since January 1st, 2022,.over eight months, the Williams family has had to deal with unimaginable grief and heartache that comes with losing a husband, father, and friend. They have had bad day after bad day, and today is no exception.

The tragic death of James Williams, who was shot through a fence by Officer Huber without first announcing his presence, was laid out for everyone to see in the released body cam video. James’ death could have been avoided and should have never happened. Although we are unaware of the evidence and testimony presented at the grand jury proceedings, the Williams family looks forward to the future fact­ finding process and thoroughly reviewing the complete BCI investigation files upon their release by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

Although the Williams family is saddened that Officer Huber will not have to face criminal charges, the Williams family, and its legal team, are strongly committed to continuing to fight for justice through the civil court system to ensure accountability for those responsible for James’ death. The Williams family will continue to advocate peacefully for police reform to change the system that allowed this tragedy to occur. While the Stark County Prosecutor has failed in obtaining justice for James, we will not stop until we do.

Previous Coverage:

Vigil held for man fatally shot by Canton police after firing gun on New Year’s Day

Canton police officer shoots man who allegedly fired first