Video shows assailant in Rashawn Williams death not the 14-year-old defendant

Courtesy Public Defender's OfficeSurveillance video shows

Courtesy Public Defender's OfficeSurveillance video shows

Police and prosecutors went after the wrong person for the killing of 14-year-old Rashawn Williams, and there is video to prove it, Public Defender Jeff Adachi charged Monday.

The 14-year-old arrested and charged for the stabbing death of Williams, who was killed in front of a Mission corner store on Sept. 2, is not a murderer, contends the Public Defender's Office.

“He did not commit the stabbing,” Adachi said of his office's unnamed 14-year-old client. The teenager, who was a former classmate of Williams at Horace Mann Middle School, was arrested the day after the incident.

Video of the stabbing, which the District Attorney's Office and San Francisco police have had for months, was released by Adachi's office Monday in an effort to get the charges dropped against their client, who remains in juvenile detention and may face being charged as an adult.

“We are asking that the case be dismissed,” Adachi said.

The District Attorney's Office, which objected to the release of the video, did not directly charge the defendant as an adult, which it could have done. Instead it asked for the court to review whether or not he should be tried as an adult.

The case remains under a protective order, preventing Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian from saying much, but he did say his office's investigation continues and they are still in the “process of determining [the defendant's] level of culpability.”

Part of that process — getting enhanced video images of the incident — is incomplete, said Bastian who noted that the DA's Office hopes to get the enhanced video back before the case's next hearing in January.

The Police Department did not return calls for comment.

The grainy video, captured by a public-housing surveillance camera across the street from the crime scene at the intersection of Folsom and 26th streets, reveals in living color the details of the events surrounding Williams' death.

It begins with the defendant and what looks like another juvenile male walking in front of Rubin's Market. Once around the corner, another juvenile male, identified as Williams, exits the store and the three seem to stop to communicate. Then — and this is the key moment according to the Public Defender's Office — the unknown juvenile standing beside the 14-year-old defendant appears to reach out and stab Williams, who then stumbles and then runs away.

The video shows at least four witnesses standing on the corner during the stabbing.

The Public Defender's Office also released still frames of surveillance video captured about 10 minutes before the stabbing blocks away

from the scene, showing their client with the same person who appears to stab Williams.

Adachi would not say who the apparent assailant is, but he did say “that individual is known to the police.”

Still, he wondered aloud why police went after his client instead of the person who appears to be the stabber.

“Why they didn't investigate it is beyond us,” he added.

Adachi's office did not release the video until now because it wanted to complete its investigation and wanted to give the DA and the Police Department a chance to “do the right thing.”

But when it appeared the DA's Office was pressing ahead with charges against its client, “We had no other choice,” he said Monday.

NOTE: This video contains graphic footage.

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsJeff AdachiRashawn WilliamsSan Francisco Crime

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Diners eat in a Shared Spaces structure outside Sotto Mare restaurant in North Beach. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA director says Shared Spaces serves transit agency’s financial interest

$10.6 million price tag for program raises concerns among transit agency’s board members

A broad coalition of tenants and housing rights organizers rally at Stanley Mosk Courthouse to protest eviction orders issued against renters Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Federal judge strikes down CDC’s national moratorium on evictions

David Yaffe-Bellany, Noah Buhayar Los Angeles Times A federal judge in Washington… Continue reading

San Francisco Unified School District spends less in the classroom than other large school districts but has more senior administrative staff.
Data shows SFUSD behind other districts on tax funding, classroom spending

With spending cuts on the horizon, school board members are taking a… Continue reading

Most Read