'Justice or Else!' group fights for 19-year-old paralyzed in Albany Police shooting

September 25, 2018 11:09 PM

ALBANY – A group called “Justice or Else!” continues to speak out in support of 19-year-old Ellazar Williams who was shot by an Albany Police Detective last month.

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Williams was left paralyzed from the waist down and now the group want to see the Albany County District Attorney take action.

Several community members came out for the presentation “Justice or Else!” gave at the Albany Public Library Tuesday night to dispute police findings. It comes after Alice Green of the Center for Law and Justice also had questions about the findings.

Albany Police said Detective James Olsen was justified in shooting Williams on Elk Street in August. But on Tuesday night, the group said it’s now making three demands.

“We want the menacing charges dropped, the menacing charges on Ellazar,” said Anthony Muhammad who’s an Albany Representative of the Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan. “There's certain standards that have to be met and we don't think he menaced the police officer."

Williams was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon after police recovered a knife at the scene.

The group also wants Albany County District Attorney David Soares to charge Detective Olsen with a crime. But if he’s not, they want Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins to fire him or relieve him from working in their community.

"We don't want this officer, based on what we have seen, we don't want this officer nowhere around our community working,” said Muhammad.

Tuesday night’s presentation also included video the group said it enhanced and slowed down. They said police haven’t truly answered the question of why Williams was shot in the back.

“You can clearly see and with the slowing down of the video, you can clearly see that he did not approach the officer,” explained Muhammad.

Albany Common Councilman Derek Johnson said after seeing the video he was stunned. He said he knew he wanted to join in the fight for Williams.

"I have to speak up in situation like this so people in Albany can understand that they have someone to speak up and let others know what won't be accepted," said Johnson. 

Albany Police said a thorough investigation of the incident was conducted and the findings were released in full. They said the Albany County District Attorney’s Office is now reviewing the incident. Detective Olsen remains on administrative leave.


Emily De Vito

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