It’s been five months since Kevin Williams had murder charges against him dropped, but his family says he’s still waiting on an apology for the five weeks he spent in jail for a crime he did not commit.
Williams’ mother, Regina Hunter, told Greater Boston Host Jim Braude on Thursday that Williams is — rightfully — angry.
“I tell people, ‘How would you feel?,’” Hunter said. “You’re sitting there, you know you didn’t do it, they know you didn’t do it, they knew when it happened that you didn’t do it, and they’re still refusing to say that you didn’t do it,” Hunter said.
Earlier this week the Boston Police Department named a different suspect in the case Williams was originally charged in.
“They’re still letting this cloud hang over my son’s head, when they arrested another suspect,” Hunter said.
Williams was arrested last fall after Dorchester resident Jose Williams (no relation) was shot and killed while working at a Codman Square gas station. Law enforcement said a witness provided a description of a suspect that night, and police stopped Williams, who matched the description.
Hunter said her son had walked to a friend’s house that night, and the friend called her to say that police had detained him.
“They said that the person identified his head shape, his clothing and his skin color, because they couldn’t identity his face,” Hunter said.
Police said that the witness later positively identified Williams and footage captured images of the suspect’s clothing, which matched what Williams was wearing.
Hunter refutes this.
“They said that he fit the clothing description, but they said – the officers on the scene – they had it called over the walkie that the person had on all black. Kevin didn’t have on all black that night.”
Hunter and former Boston NAACP President Michael Curry, who also appeared on Greater Boston Thursday, also said the video evidence provided by the police was shoddy because the shooter was said to be wearing a mask.
“They kept saying they had my kid on video, and I kept telling them to show and prove [it], because I know they didn’t, and now they’re talking about a masked man,” said Hunter. “I don’t think they know what’s going on.”
And there was other video evidence that Hunter said vindicated her son: “There are city of Boston cameras on the corner that we told them that night to pull, that would show that Kevin just walked out of our home, and they didn’t.”
Hunter has previously said that the footage showed her son leaving her house at 11:46 the night of the shooting – some ten minutes after shots rang out.
Williams was charged last fall and held in jail for five weeks without bail — until the district attorney’s office withdrew the charges in November, saying authorities did not have enough evidence. This week, the district attorney’s office formally charged a different suspect, 26-year-old Gregory Simmons.
“I think they thought that they had an easy pick-up,” Hunter added. “And I think that they thought that they were going to snatch a young black male off of the street.”
“People don’t like the comparisons, but I think they’re accurate – when you think of the Central Park 5 … or the [Charles] Stuart murder case here [in 1990], there’s a rush to judgment,” Curry said, referring to infamous cases in which black men have been wrongfully accused of violent crimes.
Curry said that after Williams’ arrest, he reached out to then-acting-District Attorney John Pappas, Mayor Marty Walsh and Police Commissioner William Gross to tell them they had made a mistake that threatened to be “a black mark on all your agencies and the mayor and the city.”
The Boston Police Department did not immediately respond to WGBH News’ request for comment.
Curry and Hunter say they are optimistic that Rachael Rollins, the new district attorney, will provide the apology, the record expungement and the long-term, systemic change that they seek.
“I respect Rachael a lot,” Hunter said. “Rachael knows that I would like to have a sit down and talk to her.”
The District Attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Kevin Williams’ case, except for offering previous statements made by Pappas.