WAYNE COUNTY, MI – Last week, a judge lowered the bail of an alleged murderer with the intent of letting him out of jail for a medical procedure and staying home, monitored by GPS tether, until the trial. The trial, it’s been reported, could still be a year or more away.
In June of 2019, 35-year-old Detroit Police Sergeant Elaine Williams was shot and killed, allegedly by Eddie Ray Johnson, in their Garden City home.
Police say that Johnson shot the 14-year police veteran Officer Williams at close-range, four times in the head and once in the shoulder. Johnson then reportedly shot and wounded himself.
Rest In Peace, Sergeant Elaine Williams. Our prayers are with your two young children, other family, and friends. https://t.co/hZJ16mRRXj
— Ethical Society of Police – ESOP (@ESOP_STL) June 4, 2019
Johnson and Williams reportedly had a history of domestic violence. While Johnson had claimed that he shot Williams in self defense, friends of Williams said that Williams had recently stated she would be walking away from the relationship for good, which is what presumably set off Johnson.
Critics of the decision by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Talon, including Police Chief James Craig, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, the family of Williams’, and community activists are asking the judge to reconsider the “ridiculously low” bail amount.
Bo Grimm, who was said to be a family friend of Williams, said:
“He’s a flight risk, a community risk, and the justice system has definitely let us down. He’s going to hurt somebody else and I hope the judge can live with that.
“For him to be out on a tether, one thing I can say, I worked for the Department of Corrections – I worked for the absconder recovery unit. I know in two seconds that tether can be cut and he’s gone. He could be in Jamaica by tomorrow.”
Wayne County Prosecutor Kim Worthy plans on appealing the judge’s decision, according to Fox2 Detroit.
Following the verdict of “compassionate release,” Chief Craig said:
“She was shot five times. One of her two sons remained in the home when this incident occurred … the defendant, Eddie Ray-Jr. Johnson, took his biological son out of the residence to a location nearby prior to initiating the attack on our beloved sergeant, Elaine Williams.
“This is not acceptable and I’m going to continue to support and advocate for the victims and families of our communities.”
Honoring Detroit, Michigan, Police Sergeant Elaine Williams, died June 2, 2019, after being shot during a domestic incident at her home. Honor her so she is not forgotten. pic.twitter.com/HG7WDy9IYF
— Steve Wightman (@stevewightman1) June 4, 2019
The trial for the murder is still at least a year away.
Last Thursday, Judge Talon reduced Johnson’s bail amount to $100,000, which is $10,000 cash bond. Johnson is said to need a medical procedure, which is reportedly the original reason for the release, and will be allowed to remain out of jail while tethered to a GPS monitor until the trial.
During a news conference this past Monday, Williams’ sister, Keisha Kembel, spoke up, saying:
“Her life is worth more than any bail amount, and definitely worth more than $10,000. She doesn’t get a chance to watch her boys grow up and be there for key moments in their lives.
She wasn’t able to be there for my nephew’s 13th birthday see him graduate from middle school or my younger nephew graduate from kindergarten.”
Williams’ friend and coworker, Donna McCord, said she doesn’t think the judge considered the effect his decision would have on Williams’ children. She said:
“We have to question: did the judge take into account the emotional effect and the physical effects of this decision only Elaine’s sons? What message does that send to other victims who are living in fear and are already reluctant to come forward and follow through a prosecution.
What does that this decision say to them in regards to our criminal justice system, and protecting them from the possibility of their offenders being released and committing more crimes?”
Additionally, pastor and community activist Maurice Hardwick said:
“I heard a word today that really, really bothered me: a compassionate release. Well, where’s the compassion for her family? Where’s the compassion for her children?”
— Dorothy Wright (@DorothyMB) June 4, 2019
Hardwick said the bail amount is “a joke”:
“This is domestic violence against a woman, an African-American woman, an African-American hero. And these judges will start being held accountable, or otherwise, a community activist will be in front of your doorstep. I’m humbly asking you to please reconsider this bond.”
Johnson is facing life in prison after being charged with first-degree murder and felony firearm in connection to Williams’ death.
Check back with Law Enforcement Today for updates on this case.
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Here’s Law Enforcement Today’s original June 4,2019 report on the murder of Sergeant Williams.
GARDEN CITY, Mich. – A Detroit police officer was reportedly shot and killed in her home on Sunday in what police are calling a domestic violence incident.
34-year-old Sergeant Elaine Williams was identified as the slain officer. Williams was a mother of two and a 14-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department. Her youngest son just turned five last month.
Police released a statement following the shooting, noting that there was no threat posed to the community and cited domestic violence as the underlying cause behind the off-duty officer’s death.
According to statements from police, authorities in Garden City, Michigan responded to Williams’s home in the 200 block of Belton Street at around 11.40 p.m. on Sunday. That’s when they found the off-duty cop dead from apparent gunshot wounds inside the home.
Another individual was found injured from gunshot wounds outside the residence. That person was taken to a hospital for treatment. Details surrounding their identity weren’t immediately released.
Former classmates took to social media to pay their final respects to Williams.
‘Sad to hear the news of my former Northwestern classmate Elaine Williams,’ one post read. ‘R.I.P. Prayers to her family. This world sucks, gone way too soon.’
Williams was said to be an incredible officer, being honored as one of 50 officers to receive a lifesaving citation at the Detroit Public Safety Foundation’s Above and Beyond Ceremony in 2017.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said in a statement that Sgt. Elaine Williams was “a rising star in this police department.”
No details have yet been released about the identity of the shooter. This story is ongoing. New information will be published as more details become public.
Rest easy, sergeant. We’ll take it from here.
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