A police dashcam video shows Chester Police Chief Andre Williams – who has been criticized for pulling over a teen driver in a Nov. 21 traffic stop during which guns were drawn and handcuffs were used – explaining to the driver why he pulled him over and showing the teen’s father how loud his siren is.
Williams has said he initiated a felony vehicle stop – during which officers are trained to draw their weapons and handcuff suspects – because the teen did not stop for several blocks after the chief turned on his blue lights and siren. Driver Cardan Williams and his twin brother, Caymen Williams, were temporarily placed in handcuffs after the stop.
Carlos Williams, the teens’ father, who this week called for the chief’s firing, can be heard on the video telling his sons that they will be riding a “yellow bus” now.
One person can be heard on the video saying, “I didn’t see no blue lights.”
The video from a shift lieutenant’s police vehicle – which shows the latter part of the incident – does not show officers with guns drawn during the stop. The police chief’s unmarked car and unmarked police trucks driven by narcotics officers and a major who responded to the chief’s call for backup, do not have dash cameras, so the early part of the incident was not recorded.
Carlos Williams slammed the police chief at Monday night’s Chester City Council meeting and in an interview with The Herald, saying that the use of guns and handcuffs was excessive force. He has not filed any formal complaint against Chief Williams or the city, Chester City Attorney Megan Gaston said.
Chief Williams told The Herald that Cardan Williams, 16, did not stop for blue lights, siren or horn at about 8:30 p.m. Nov. 21 despite his attempts to pull him over. Failure to pull over for blue lights is a felony in South Carolina.
The chief said he saw the car Cardan Williams was driving pull out from a side street right in front of another car. The driver traveled for two blocks on Saluda Street, he said, turned onto Oak Street and then onto Crosby Street before finally pulling over, after driving more than half a mile.
Chief Williams can be heard on the video saying, “That white Cadillac you pulled out in front of and almost hit, that’s why I stopped y’all.”
An unrelated traffic stop at the corner of Oak and Saluda streets can be seen on the video. Carlos Williams has said his sons believed the blue lights behind them were from the other stop they had passed.
One of the teens can be seen in handcuffs in the video. Once Carlos Williams arrived on the scene, the handcuffs were removed, and Chief Williams begins speaking with the father and the teens about why he stopped them.
Chief Williams can be heard explaining that he saw the turn onto Saluda Street that began the incident.
Williams also is seen and heard on the video showing Carlos Williams the sound of the siren in his car. The father can be heard saying, “You all ain’t driving no more,” and “Y’all going to be riding on the yellow bus” – an apparent reference to taking the school bus.
The twins are scholar-athletes at Chester High School.
Chief Williams said he initiated the felony traffic stop because the driver did not pull over, and the incident happened in known gang turf. The brothers were ordered out of the car and handcuffed for safety reasons, police said, and the narcotics officers trained guns on the car as other officers searched the interior and trunk of the car.
In an interview earlier this week, Chief Williams said he gave the driver “the benefit of the doubt” and issued no ticket and made no arrest.
Carlos Williams said Wednesday that he had not seen the video, but a lawyer working on his behalf has requested it. He still wants the issue investigated, as his sons have told him that the blue lights and siren were not on until they had turned onto Oak Street. The chief, his command staff and the gang officers all should have dashcams on their vehicles, Carlos Williams said.
“We wanted video from the chief’s car, but it looks like there isn’t any,” Carlos Williams said. “That would have shown exactly what happened.”
Efforts to reach Chief Williams for comment on the video were unsuccessful on Wednesday. Police spokeswoman Keshia Tobias declined to comment on the video.
The police car dashcam video was released to The Herald on Wednesday following a Freedom of Information Act request.