CANTON, Ohio (WJW) — Stark County Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Stone said a grand jury has declined to indict Canton Police officer Robert Huber, who fatally shot and killed 46-year-old James Williams on New Year’s Day.
Huber was responding shortly after midnight on Jan. 1 to reports of gunfire in the 2300 block of 10th Street Southwest, where he encountered Williams. The Canton father of six was shot and killed while firing his AR rifle into the air as part of a New Year’s celebration, according to reports.
The shooting was investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which returned its preliminary findings in May, Stone said Wednesday. The bureau’s report is expected to be available online later today, he said.
Over two days of testimony, prosecutors presented all the evidence and gave grand jurors multiple slates of charges on which they could indict, Stone said.
“I understand this is not the outcome that some people wanted, but I want to assure this community that we presented this case in a fair and just manner, presented all the evidence, and gave [grand jurors] multiple options for different charges,” he said. “I have exercised due care with this case and didn’t allow public opinion or anything of the sort to sway how we operated and presented this case.
“With the grand jury deciding not to indict, no further action will be taken by my office.”
Williams’ family has since filed a lawsuit. Their attorneys were notified of the decision, Stone said.
The family’s law firm released a statement Wednesday afternoon:
Over the past two weeks, the Stark County Prosecutor presented the tragic death of James Williams by Canton Police Officer Robert Huber to the Stark County Grand Jury. Today, the Williams family is deeply disappointed in the decision not to criminally indict Officer Huber. Since January 1st, 2022, over eight months, the Williams family has had to deal with unimaginable grief and heartache that comes with losing a husband, father, and friend. They have had bad day after bad day, and today is no exception.
The tragic death of James Williams, who was shot through a fence by Officer Huber without first announcing his presence, was laid out for everyone to see in the released body cam video. James’ death could have been avoided and should have never happened. Although we are unaware of the evidence and testimony presented at the grand jury proceedings, the Williams family looks forward to the future fact-finding process and thoroughly reviewing the complete BCI investigation files upon their release by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
Although the Williams family is saddened that Officer Huber will not have to face criminal charges, the Williams family, and its legal team, are strongly committed to continuing to fight for justice through the civil court system to ensure accountability for those responsible for James’ death. The Williams family will continue to advocate peacefully for police reform to change the system that allowed this tragedy to occur. While the Stark County Prosecutor has failed in obtaining justice for James, we will not stop until we do.Blakemore, Meeker & Bowler