Files Released for Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – September 6, 2022 – The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has released the Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s (BCI) investigative file regarding a January 1st fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred in Canton. 

BCI was requested by the Canton Police Department to investigate the shooting that occurred shortly after midnight. BCI’s role was to conduct an independent, third party investigation.

The Stark County Prosecutor’s Office presented the case to a grand jury.

“Every use of force that results in a life lost is a tragedy,” Yost said. “The scope, scale and complexity of this incident required BCI to conduct a highly detailed, intensive investigation – a work product that is now available for anyone to review.”   

BCI’s investigation found that a Canton Police Department officer responded to 2307 10th Street SW to investigate gunfire. The officer encountered James Williams, who was subsequently shot and killed during the incident.

As a part of its efforts to document all pertinent facts of the incident, BCI did the following:

  • Interviewed the officer who discharged the weapon and one officer who was deemed to have potentially relevant information; canvassed the neighborhood after the incident; and interviewed family members and associates of the decedent.
  • Reviewed all available body cameras and surveillance video that captured any portion of the incident.
  • Processed the crime scene for potential evidence, including photographing, searching, measuring, documenting and collecting evidence.
  • Conducted forensic laboratory analysis and evidentiary comparison on firearms-related evidence, including casings and projectiles.
  • Evaluated training and personnel records of the involved officers.

As a fact-finding agency, BCI does not determine whether or not a use of force was justified, nor does it make recommendations regarding charges or the appropriateness of the use of force. Those decisions rest with the prosecuting attorney and/or grand jury.

BCI’s case files have been posted to the attorney general’s website. The site archives case files from officer-involved critical incidents only after either a prosecutor or grand jury has decided to not to indict, or if an officer is indicted and has been prosecuted in court.