Doorbell camera video shows what happened before man’s death in CMPD custody

CHARLOTTE — New doorbell camera video is providing more perspective about the moments before a man died while in police custody.

On Thursday, a judge released body camera footage from June 2022 when the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department responded to a call of a suspicious person. Police said Jovontay Williams was trying to break into homes.

Police said Jovontay Williams shot into a home and was trying to break into homes.

Officers arrived on the scene and found Williams trying to break into another home, police said.

Williams had a gun, but it wasn’t on his person, CMPD said.

Police found Williams on the porch of a home in medical distress. They called for medical help.

Williams’ family told Channel 9′s crime reporter Hunter Sáenz that the doorbell camera video shows Williams on the porch of a home before the police arrived, including a moment when Williams asked for help.

It’s unclear exactly what happened after the video stops, but we do know that police arrived on the scene and arrested Williams. Hours later, he died at a hospital.

“Can I get some water, please? Can I get some water please?” Williams asks, followed by, “Oh God -- you don’t want nobody to die on your porch.”

“No, we’re calling the cops,” someone replies.

But neighbors who called 911 said they thought Williams was breaking into homes.

CMPD responded and found Williams, who appeared to be in medical distress, on that porch.

Roughly 20 seconds later they rolled him over to his side, reassuring him he was OK.

“You’re good, you’re good. Just take some deep breaths for me, brother. We’re here to help you, alright?”

But Williams’ mother, Christa Williams, questions why a short time later, Williams was rolled back over on his stomach and left that way for roughly a minute and 40 seconds.

“Who made that executive decision to not to let him sit up when he was no longer a hazard to you all?” she asked.

Outside CMPD headquarters on Friday, Williams’ mother and others spoke out, pointing blame at the officers on the scene. She said her son asked multiple times to be let up.

“Jovontay man, we got the ambulance on the way for you, alright?” you can hear in the police video. Then, ”Let me up.” The reply: “We’re going to let you up as soon as the ambulance gets here.” And then again: “Let me up.”

The family is also blaming MEDIC, who didn’t arrive until 19 minutes after the arrest according to CMPD, as well as the fire department, for not stepping in while at the scene.

“It’s just a tragedy for me and my family and especially his son, ‘cause he misses his dad a lot,” Christa Williams said.

She now wants reform at all three agencies as she seeks justice for her son.

The district attorney didn’t find any evidence of criminal violations.

CMPD’s Internal Investigation found no police violations.

CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings maintains his officers followed all policies and stands by them. MEDIC and the Charlotte Fire Department say they are both looking into this incident.

No official autopsy has been released, but Sáenz was told the family has had an independent autopsy performed.

Did MEDIC respond in an appropriate amount of time?

Channel 9′s Gina Esposito has reported that MEDIC has struggled with response times. As a result, the agency has been delaying its response for certain calls and relying on Charlotte Fire to respond first to determine whether MEDIC is actually needed. The reason: So MEDIC can allocate more of its resources toward high-priority calls.

Esposito is trying to learn more about the call in this particular case. CMPD said it took MEDIC 19 minutes to arrive on scene.

MEDIC’s goal is to respond to all priority calls within 10 minutes and 59 seconds. That immediate response is for patients who are unconscious or not breathing. For callers who are complaining of headaches and some trouble breaking, MEDIC’s goal is to get there within 12 minutes and 59 seconds.

Based on what Esposito watched from CMPD’s body camera video of the incident, Jovontay Williams complained of trouble breathing.

Both MEDIC and Charlotte Fire said they’re undergoing what’s known as a “medical incident review process” for this case. It’s to find out more about the on-scene care Williams received and his transport to the hospital.

On Saturday, Esposito found out why MEDIC took so long to respond to the call. She learned an ambulance wasn’t initially dispatched because MEDIC says officers did not provide enough information.

The agency says CMPD called for a medical response at 2:12 a.m. MEDIC added that CMPD did ‘not’ say there was a patient on scene. In this case, protocol would allow Charlotte Fire to respond without MEDIC, which is called a ‘First Responder Only Response.”

MEDIC says that the fire department arrived at 2:20 a.m. and four minutes later asked for MEDIC to respond non-emergency. At 2:25, MEDIC says it sent an ambulance then quickly reassigned the call to another ambulance who was closer at the time.

MEDIC arrived at 2:31 a.m., which was seven minutes and 6 seconds after the fire department’s request.

(WATCH BELOW: MEDIC adjusts its response times to 911 calls based on their urgency)

Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz, wsoctv.com

Hunter is a reporter for Channel 9.