Memorial to Stephen A. Williams

End of Watch: July 2, 1968
Rank: Officer   Badge No. 1827
Age: 21   Years of Service: 3 years
Location of Death:  1300 Block of Columbia Road, NW
Duty Assignment:  Tenth Precinct

 

Circumstance:

On July 2, at 7:45 pm, Officers Williams and Matteson were attempting to arrest a robbery suspect in the 1300 block of Columbia Road. Officer Williams had one cuff on the suspect when he began fighting, the suspect’s son walked up and grabbed Officer William’s gun. The son shot both officers. The suspect then grabbed Officer Matteson’s gun and fired two additional rounds into his prone body.  Officer Williams died from six bullet wounds to his head and body. Officer Matteson survived his injuries.

 

Biography:

Officer Williams was born and raised in Washington, DC. After high school he joined the US Marine Corps and served two tours in Vietnam. He joined the department 3 months after his honorable discharge from the Marines. He was survived by his mother, Mrs. Donald J. Egan.

 

Articles from the Washington Post – transcribed by Dave Richardson, MPD/Ret.
THE SHOOTING DEATH OF OFFICER STEPHEN A. WILLIAMS, AND THE WOUNDING OF OFFICER FREDERICK L. MATTESON, ON JULY 2, 1968. THIS KILLING PRODUCED A LOT OF CONTROVERSY CONCERNING THE POLICE AND THE CITY’S RACIAL TENSIONS.
WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED JULY 3, 1968, PAGE A1
Policeman Is Slain In NW; 2d Shot

One Policeman was shot to death last night and another wounded critically during a scuffle in which both officers lost their service revolvers to two men they tried to arrest for disorderly conduct at 14th and Columbia Road NW

Dead on arrival in Washington Hospital Center of six bullet wounds in the head and body was Tenth Precinct Pvt. Stephen Williams, 23. His scout car partner, Pvt. Frederick Matteson, 38, was said to be critical condition at the same hospital where he underwent surgery for head and chest wounds.

The shooting drew more than two score policemen into the area, including Public Safety Director Patrick V. Murphy, several key police officials and City Council member Joseph P. Yeldell.

The concentrated hunt for the suspects in the 2800 block of 14th Street NW, where flying squads of policemen were seen leading at least three suspects described in early lookouts as a father and a son, and within an hour of the shooting three manacled men were observed being removed from a night club and put into patrol wagons.

Police officials said Pvts. Williams and Matteson had responded to a complaint of a disorderly man near the northeast corner of the 14th Street and Columbia Road intersection.

They apparently found two men fighting and, in the attempt, to break up the battle found themselves involved in it. That at least one of the combatants had been placed under arrest was indicated by the disclosure that one of the suspects had manacles on one wrist.

Police responding to the shooting call immediately sealed off the 1300 block of Columbia Road NW to traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian. They reported that crowds attracted by the commotion responded peaceably to bull-horned requests to clear the street.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED JULY 4, 1968, PAGE A1
Suspect’s Wife Held In Police Slaying
Homicide Squad detectives early yesterday charged a 35-year-old woman as a third principal in the slaying of a policeman and the wounding of another Tuesday night in the 1300 block of Columbia Road NW.

She is Ethel R. White, wife of Johnny J. White, 38, who had been charged earlier with his 19-year-old son, Duane, with slaying Tenth Precinct Pvt. Stephen A. Williams, 23, and wounding his scout car partner, Pvt. Frederick L. Matteson, 38.
Both policemen were shot with their own service revolvers in the course of a wild street battle touched off by the elder White’s arrest on a robbery complaint.

Matteson remained in critical condition with head and chest wounds last night at the Washington Hospital Center where Williams had been pronounced dead on arrival.

Police said they had charged Mrs. White originally with assaulting an officer but decided to place the more serious charge of murder against her just before all three were arraigned before United States Commissioner Sam Wertleb. He ordered them held without bond and continued their hearing until July 23 and said he would ask the Legal Aid Agency to provide their defense.

From the amounts of about a dozen witnesses to the tragedy, police provided this account of the fatal fight.
Pvts. Williams and Matteson encountered a citizen in front of 1358 Columbia Rd. NW who told them he had been robbed of $34 Monday night by Johnny White whom he pointed out to the officers across the street. Both policemen placed White under arrest, but after handcuffs were attached to one of his wrists, he started fighting.

As they struggled, the younger White joined the battle and all four men fell to the pavement. It was at that point, police said, that Mrs. White attacked from behind one of the policemen.

The younger White then wrested Pvt. Matteson’s gun from him and shot the officer twice, investigators said. Johnny White then got Pvt. Williams gun and both father and son fired six shots between them into Pvt. Williams, the report said. He died almost instantly, hit by five shots in the body and one in the arm.

Acting on information provided by witnesses to the fray, police arrested Mr. And Mrs. White in an apartment at 2804 14th St. NW within an hour of the shooting and Duane White surrendered an hour later at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital from which he had been released earlier in the day on a three-day holiday pass.

Police said one of the police guns was recovered in the apartment where the elder White was arrested. The second was retrieved early yesterday with a search warrant issued for another home in the area.

D.C. Welfare Department officials said younger White had been in the District Training School for the mentally retarded for about three years prior to his transfer to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital last Feb. 8 for inclusion in that institution’s program for disturbed teenagers. Institutional records credit him with an IQ in the 60s, at the top of the mentally retarded range, but “aggressive” behavior problems complicated his case, officials said.

In his behavioral background, records show, is an assault on a policeman with the officer’s own blackjack about eight months ago while he was free on the last community pass, he received from the Training School.

Meanwhile, HEROES, Inc., an organization of area businessmen presented yesterday to Mrs. Donald J. Egan, mother of slain Pvt. Williams, a check for $1000 to help cover the immediate expenses of his death.

Mrs. Williams, here from her home in Tucson, Ariz., said her son was a native of Washington who attended local schools and obtained his high school equivalency certificate during his three years of U.S. Marine Corps service, which included two tours of Vietnam duty. He joined the police force last July, about three months after his military discharge.

Police officials yesterday recalled an excerpt from an essay Williams was required to submit as a recruit on the general theme of why he wanted to become a policeman.

“I am also interested in the well-being of those around me,” Williams wrote, “and I feel I might accomplish something in this respect as a policeman.”

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED JULY 6, 1968, PAGE A1

Slaying Of Police Defended
Black United Front Calls It “Justifiable”
The Black United Front issued a statement yesterday terming the gun slaying of a District policeman Tuesday night as “justifiable homicide.”

Mayor Walter E. Washington after meeting with top aides last night, issued a statement saying the “resolution with respect to the slaying of Officer (Stephen A.) Williams…is inflammatory, irresponsible and unfortunate.”

Charles Jones, the other co-chairman and formerly chairman of the Action Coordinating Committee to End Segregation in the Suburbs (ACCESS) said “about 450 “persons unanimously voted to adopt the statement at a Wednesday night meeting at the Douglas Memorial Church, 11th and E Streets NE

The resolution asserted: “The methods of self-defense used by the family charged with the alleged slaying of the honky cop is justified homicide in the same sense that police are allowed to kill black people and call it justifiable homicide.”
The Black United Front was formed last January as a civil rights coalition of moderates and militants by Carmichael.
The Mayor’s short statement concluded: “If this community is to thrive and prosper, it must do so within the framework of law. As citizens, we must continue to work together—black and white, policeman and civilian—so that law and order, with justice, will be the code for all.”

The slain police private, Stephen A. Williams, 22, and his partner, Pvt. Frederick L. Matteson, 38, who was critically wounded, were both shot in a struggle with a robbery suspect, the suspect’s son and the suspect’s wife.

Both officers were shot with their own revolvers in the 1300 block of Columbia Road, NW about 8 p.m. after attempting to arrest Johnnie White, 38. White, his son Dwayne, 19, and his wife, Ethel R. White, have all been charged with homicide.
The Rev. Channing Phillips, the Democratic National Committeeman from Washington and a member of the board of the BUF, was asked whether he approved of the statement.

“Well, I was there, and the vote was unanimous,” Mr. Phillips said. “Both the officer and the citizen deserve protection from this system that provides for the deaths of both.”

Mr. Phillips said that some people were getting “hung up” on the language of the statement. But when dealing with the problems of extreme deprivation, he said, extreme language is used to express hostility.

“The attempt to police the community from the outside,” Mr. Phillips said, “produces hostility from the person policed.”
“The officers, historically, have not seen the black citizen as a human being,” he added.

The Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, vice chairman of the City Council and a member of the board of the BUF, said he had not read the statement and had no comment. Mr. Fauntroy said he would issue a statement today. Summer Stone, a BUF board member, former assistant to Adam Clayton Powell and once editor of the Washington Afro-American newspaper, said he was not present when the statement was drawn up and would not comment.

Asked if there was any division between Negro moderates and black militants within the group, co-chairman Jones said the resolution was passed at a duly notified and called meeting.

“When we have a unanimous vote,” Jones said, “the Front takes a position itself.” “When there is a majority vote,” he said, “the front requires those in the minority” not publicly to oppose the decision.

Criticizing the role of the press Jones said, “the problem with the white community in understanding what goes on in the black community is its apparent need to identify and play up divisiveness.”

Text of Resolution On Slaying of Police
This is a resolution the Black United Front passed Wednesday night: Resolution in support of the black family accused of the alleged slaying of a honky cop by the Black United Front.

Whereas the black community knows from history that police are controlled by whites and come into the black community to suppress rather than protect black people: whereas the black community knows and recognizes from its history that police do not regard the lives of black people and have killed black people under the guise of justifiable homicide and have been allowed to do so because black people have no meaningful say so in their being hired or fired and these cops have no interest in the black community; whereas the black community needs systems of control and protection from oppressive elements; be it resolved that—
1) The methods of self-defense by the family charged with the alleged slaying of the honky cop is justifiable homicide in the same sense that police are allowed to kill black people and call it justifiable homicide.
2) The police assigned to the black community be placed under the control of the black community.
3) The society face up to its responsibility to remove a colonial, racist system which make such events possible.

Black people have resolved that this change will occur by any means necessary to preserve both freedom and comfort.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED JULY 7, 1968, PAGE A1

High Officials Attend Pvt. William’s Rites
Tenth Precinct police Pvt. Stephen A. Williams, 22, who was shot to death Tuesday night as he attempted to make an arrest, was buried yesterday.

City officials and hundreds of uniformed city and suburban policemen attended the funeral at Washington Cathedral. Later they stood at attention at Fort Lincoln Cemetery while a Marine Corps bugler played taps over the grave.
Mayor Walter E. Washington, City Council Chairman John W. Hechinger, Council Vice Chairman the Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy and several Council members heard the Rev. Dr. C. Leslie Glenn say at the Cathedral that Pvt. Williams “was imbued with the idea of helping to bring peace to our cities.”

Canon Glenn recalled that Pvt. Williams had grown up here and had served in the Marine Corps for three years, including a year in Vietnam.

When he returned, Dr. Glenn said, Pvt. William’s family wanted him to serve on a suburban force, but “he wanted to be on the Metropolitan force; it is ironic that he believed strongly in reason and conversation as a means of settling differences, because he met his death by violence.”

The Canon said: “Here lies a young man, only 22, whose reason and idealism and sacrifice represent exactly what our officials have adopted as their course.”

He said city officials “are working in high places for law and order with that same balance of force and reason that motivated this young man in the ranks to risk his life and lay it down.”
Speaking to a congregation of mourners which included Public Safety Director Patrick V. Murphy, Police Chief John B. Layton and about 600 policemen, the Canon said, “The tribute which the whole city pays to him is also a tribute to all of you who proudly wear the uniform of the Metropolitan Police Department.”

Pvt. William’s flag-draped coffin was carried in and out of the Cathedral by six Tenth Precinct officers. The Cathedral bells tolled as the coffin was carried out.

Six Marines in dress uniform carried the coffin from hearse to grave, passing between two rows of city and suburban police. After Dr. Glenn completed the committal prayer, eight other Marines fired three rifle volleys. The bugler then played taps.
The Marine pallbearers then removed the flag from the coffin, folded it and gave it to Chief Layton. Layton presented it to Pvt. William’s mother, Mrs. Donald J. Eagan, of Tucson, Ariz.

Layton told her that her son’s service “was exemplary both to his country and to our community.”

Pvt. Williams was killed in the 1300 block of Columbia Road NW He was shot with his own gun, which was taken from him as he attempted to make an arrest. Three suspects have been arrested and are charged with homicide.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED JULY 8, 1968, PAGE A16

Tragedy on Columbia Road
The shooting on Columbia Road last Tuesday night in which one policeman was killed and another critically wounded is indeed tragic. The tragedy is heightened because Pvt. Stephen A. Williams, a 22-year-old Marine veteran, had survived the rigors of the Vietnam War only to return and be shot dead on a street in the Nation’s Capital. His partner, Pvt. Frederick L. Matteson suffered grave head injuries.

Now on the heels of this tragedy, the Black United Front says the “slaying of the honky cop is justifiable homicide in the same sense that police are allowed to kill black people and call it justifiable homicide.” That statement is absurd, malicious and dangerous. It is absurd because no evidence has been presented so far to indicate that Pvt. Williams or his partner used any force or language to cause a simple arrest to escalate into murder. It is malicious because the statement’s harsh wording constitutes invective that just spews venom in an already poisoned atmosphere. And it is dangerous because the publishing of the statement can only make things worse between police and black people in Washington. Quite aside from malice, however, there is a temptation to say a lot of things about how such an incident could have been avoided or to read into it some special significance, some evidence of racial tension, some lesson about how to maintain law and order in our streets. But hindsight does not help and there are not many useful lessons to be found in so mindless an act as this sudden assault on two policemen whose own weapons were snatched from their holsters and used against them.

To the extent that there is meaning in such a tragedy it is in what it tells us about the nature of the street and the daily risks faced with commendable courage and resolution by our under-manned and often over-worked police force. There is no protection for them against homicidal assailant bent on senseless murder.

While this shooting is fresh in their minds, they will doubtless take extra precautions not to expose themselves to needless dangers. But because they have proven themselves, many times over, to be a highly competent and professional force, they can also be counted on to exercise their customary good judgement in balancing forceful measures with sensible restraint.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED JULY 14, 1968, PAGE B6

Outrage
In a full-page newspaper advertisement a few days ago, the Policemen’s Association of the District of Columbia gave expression to its sense of outrage “at the assaults and continued slaying of our fellow police officers,” observing that “we know of no other civilized nation in which policemen are gunned down as they are in the Nation’s Capital today.” No other civilized nation allows its thugs and maniacs to buy guns at will for the purpose of murdering its policemen. It is, when one comes to think about it, something of a miracle that policemen continue to be willing to hazard their lives for the protection of a society which has for so long callously declined to adopt the most obvious of safeguards for the protection of its police.
The Policemen’s Association offered some interesting statistics. “Private (Stephen A.) Williams is the fourth policeman murdered in the streets of our Nation’s Capital in the past seven months and the third shot and killed this year…. From 1960 to 1966, 335 policemen have been murdered in the U.S. in the line of duty by criminals.” Lest anyone suppose that knives or clubs were responsible for the deaths of these officers, let us make it clear that 322 of the 335 died from bullet wounds; guns are unmistakably the weapon of choice for killing cops.

It is perfectly possible to keep guns away from criminals without imposing upon law-abiding citizens who want them for legitimate purposes any greater inconvenience than the kind of minor one entailed in registering an automobile. Failure to regulate the merchandising and possession of guns is not only an outrage, it is a piece of consummate folly as well. Last year, guns were used in more than 125,000 assaults, rapes and robberies. Does it make sense to let that kind of gunplay go on undisturbed?

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED JULY 24, 1968, PAGE A3
Witness Describes Scene at Slaying Of D.C. Policeman
“The cop was lying on the ground and I saw Johnny standing over him and he had a revolver and I saw him fire it into the cop.”

This was the testimony yesterday, before U.S. Commissioner Sam Wertleb, of Betty Jane Hodges, 28, of 1359 Columbia Rd. NW, who witnessed the July 2 shooting death of one policeman and the serious wounding of another in front of her house.
Wertleb ordered Johnny White, 38, and his wife, Ethel, 35, of Columbia Rd. NW, held without bail for action of the grand jury on charges of first-degree murder.

White’s son Duane, also charged with murder in the death of Pvt. Stephen A. Williams, 22, is undergoing mental tests at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.

Williams death prompted a statement by the Black United Front, a coalition of local Negro organizations, saying that the shooting was “justifiable homicide in the same sense that police are allowed to kill black people and call it justifiable homicide.”

Attorneys for the Whites told Commissioner Wertleb that since Mrs. Hodges admitted she saw White fire at only Pvt. Frederick L. Matteson, 38, Williams partner, and not at Williams, the murder charges should have been withdrawn. Matteson is still in a hospital in serious condition with a bullet in the brain.

Wertleb said, “I think that they aided and abetted each other in this and are responsible for the death of this officer.”
Mrs. Hodges testified that police were in that block because she called them after she had seen Johnny threatening a neighbor with a straight razor.

She said White made the threat under the belief that the neighbor had informed on him to the police in connection with an assault and robbery on the block the previous evening.

Emerson A. Stephens, 37, of 1359 Columbia Rd. NW, testified that he was the victim of that robbery and that he identified White to police as his assailant.

He said he led Pvt. Williams and Pvt. Matteson across the street where they encountered White and tried to arrest him. A scuffle began, said Stevens, at which time he fled. Shortly thereafter, he heard a volley of shots, he said.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED SEPTEMBER 19, 1968, PAGE C1

A Break in the Ranks of D.C. Policemen’s Wives
Wives of D.C. policemen have formed themselves into two separate organizations—one black and ghetto-resident oriented, the other 97 per cent white and militantly pro-Establishment.

Their differences echo the growing national debate on how to keep order and maintain justice in an increasingly divided society.

On one hand is the nearly all-white D.C. Police Wives Association, whose 100 members have mounted an all-out attack on the Black United Front and on what they call a “soft” approach to crime in the District of Columbia.

Most of the Association members live in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. They vigorously object to proposals that District policemen be required to live in the neighborhoods where they serve.

The second group formed two years ago, is the Metropolitan Police Wives Association. It consists of 15 wives of black policemen, most of them living in the District.

They maintain that Negro policemen are often the object of discrimination within the force, that policemen black and white often deal unfairly with ghetto residents and that D.C. policemen ought to be required to live within the city limits.

The Metropolitan Police Wives are also pressing for a sharp increase in the number of black policemen on the force. At the moment, 731—or 24 percent of the 3048-man police department—are Negroes. The women feel the force should more accurately reflect the makeup of the city’s population which is more than 62 percent black.

The break in the ranks of policemen’s wives occurred two years ago, when Goldie Johnson, a beauty salon owner and wife of 13th Precinct Pvt. William E. Johnson, attended her first meeting of the D.C. Police Wives Association.

As Mrs. Johnson tells it, discussion was invited by the club’s president. Mrs. Johnson stood up and reported that, in her opinion, Negro policemen were receiving stiffer disciplinary penalties than white policemen. She urged the wife’s association to look into the matter.

“When they told me to sit down because I had a chip on my shoulder,” Mrs. Johnson recalled, “I said this ain’t no chip, it’s a whole darn tree.”

Mrs. Johnson says she was offended when one of the women told her if she didn’t want to go along with the club’s way of doing things she ought to get out.

“Another one wanted to know why I was making trouble. She said, “We white ladies and you black women ought to be getting along.”

Mrs. Johnson, who spent two years in the WAC’s and claims she can “break down an —1 like any man,” decided it was time to form her own police wives’ group. The result was the Metropolitan.

Mrs. Johnson has proposed to City Council Chairman John Hechinger that the Council consider making it compulsory for District policemen to live in the city. “If they can’t afford to live here, then we ought to put their salaries up 50 to 75 percent,” she said. The Council has not yet debated the question.

This proposal is one of several that have angered the D.C. Wives Association. They feel it is unfair to ask them to uproot their families, take their children out of school and leave familar neighborhoods because of their husbands’ jobs.

But Mrs. Johnson argues that only when a policeman lives in the neighborhood where he works can he and his family be committed to the needs of that community.

On one issue, however, the D.C. Police Wives, under steady attack from the Metropolitan Police Wives, has backed down.
Mrs. Johnson publicly criticized Joan Abbott, the leader of D.C. Wives and the wife of 5th Precinct policeman E.D. Abbott, for continuing to hold club meetings out in the suburbs.

Monday 60 members of D.C. Wives held their first meeting inside the city. Some who went said they were “nervous” about coming into the city at night.

“My husband says it’s unsafe,” one said.

In spite of their differing views on most issues, D.C. Wives and Metropolitan Wives share several common concerns. Uppermost is fear for the safety of their husbands.

At Monday night’s meeting, D.C. Wives considered ways to help the wife and children of 10th Precinct Pvt. Frederick Matteson, who was shot in the head and chest last July and remains seriously ill in a hospital. Matteson’s scout-car partner, Pvt. Stephen A. Williams was killed during the same incident.

Mrs. James Webb, wife of a black detective who was injured last year while serving in the Metropolitan Police force and a member of the Metropolitan Club, says: “As long as he’s a policeman we’ll be living under a terrific strain, wondering if he’ll come home alive.”

Goldie Johnson says: “Whenever the phone rings you wonder if that’s to tell you to get down to the hospital to view your husband’s remains.”

Beyond this, the women apparently share very little in common viewpoint.

Mrs. Abott’s group recently sent out 200 letters to District businessmen, saying her group subscribes “whole-heartedly” to the idea that “fundamentally, crime is neither racial nor economic, nor political.” The D.C. wives have launched a major sales campaign for red, white and blue bumper stickers reading “Help Your Police Fight Crime.”

They have also registered vigorous protests with everyone from President Johnson to the City Council, over the Black United Front’s statement that the shooting of Pvt. Williams was as much justifiable homicide as the shooting of a citizen by a policeman.

Mrs. Johnson charges that the D.C. Police Wives are “suburban dwellers who are set in their ways and just don’t understand how it feels to live in the city’s ghettos.”

The job, she says, is to bridge the gap between a policeman with his family and the District residents.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED NOVEMBER 21, 1968, PAGE A20

Guidelines and Judgement
The most thoughtful guidelines the City Council can draft are not going to control the judgement of a policeman faced with the awesome, instant choice of whether to fire a gun or put his own life in danger. For most men, that choice is instinctive and subjective and unresponsive to the most thoughtful policy guides. The Council can, however, quite properly focus on regulations governing the behavior of police in different situations before it becomes necessary to draw or use a gun.

The Council’s Public Safety Subcommittee proposes to limit the use of guns by police officers to the following circumstances: to defend themselves from an attack they have “reasonable cause to believe would result in death or serious bodily injury”, and at fleeing suspects and convicted felons who have committed a crime using “deadly force,” and where there is “substantial risk” that the suspect is armed and that he may kill or seriously injure someone “if his apprehension is delayed.” The proposals also ban warning shots. Those are changes in the present regulations that make sense.

But the Councils discussion should not stop there. It ought to draft regulations—or instruct Chief Layton to draft regulations—covering tactics police officers ought to use when approaching citizens. Just to give two current examples: The fatal shooting of jaywalker Elijah Bennett might have been avoided had the officer not let Bennett, who was unarmed, get the best of him in a scuffle. The recent wounding of a deranged woman who was brandishing a knife might have been avoided had the officer not drawn his gun at all and relied instead on calling in help in an effort to overpower and disarm her. The Council ought to inquire into the amount of training given in self-defense techniques of hand-to-hand combat and the use of such non-lethal weapons as the blackjack and nightstick. It ought to explore introducing Mace or tranquilizer guns for subduing suspects.

To suggest these areas of investigation is not to say that the men on the Metropolitan Police Department are trigger happy. Even to imply that they are would be to ignore the hundreds of arrests they make daily throughout the city without using their firearms. Just the other day, for example, an armed bank robber was apprehended without a shot fired because of the quick thinking of two officers.

But there are too many fatal shootings on the part of police and citizens. Even if the City Council could legislate the behavior and judgement and split-second reaction of policemen it cannot do the same for the citizens the police encounter on the street. No regulation could have prevented the murder of police Pvt. Stephen Williams last summer. And no regulation could dissolve the mutual hostility between the public and police. But the proposals that the City Council will consider today can be one step toward cooling that hostility, and if not controlling human judgement, then perhaps reducing human error.

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PARTIAL WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED JUNE 7, 1969, PAGE B4

Officer’s Killer Gets 15 Years
A 39-year-old Washington man was sentenced to a prison term of 15-years to life yesterday for shooting a policeman to death last summer and seriously wounding another.

Judge Oliver Gasch of U.S. District Court imposed the term on Johnnie White Jr., of 1356 Irving St. NW, who pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the slaying of Officer Stephen A. Williams in a scuffle on Columbia Road NW last July 3. White also pleaded guilty to assault with intent to kill.

White asked to be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea and have a jury trial, but Judge Gasch denied the request.
White’s wife, Ethel, was placed on probation last week for her part in the same incident. Their son, Dwayne, was also charged, but found not guilty by reason of insanity.

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PARTIAL WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED JUNE 4, 1970, PAGE B1

35 Heroic Police, Firemen Honored
Among the silver medal winners was Officer Stephen A. Williams, who was shot and killed with his own gun during a fracas in the 1300 block of Columbia Road NW, July 2, 1968. His mother, Jaculeynn Williams Egan, of Tucson, Ariz., accepted the award on behalf of her 21-year-old son.

William’s partner, Officer Frederick L. Matteson, who was seriously wounded in the incident in which Williams was killed and who was hospitalized for many months, accepted his own silver medal in person.

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Fred Matteson’s recovery from severe injury was long, and painful, both physically, and emotionally.
Early in 1971, Captain Thomas Estes, Commanding Officer of the Training Division, assigned Fred to the academy as a library assistant. Captain Estes was concerned that Fred was having psychological problems recovering from Officer Williams death, and healing from his own injuries. Also, Fred was in severe depression, which the Captain recognized, and thought may be helped if Fred were active with other staff police officers at the academy.

Not only was this a thoughtful humanitarian gesture on the part of Captain Estes, but a sincere effort to improve the health, and well-being of Fred.

Fred did not have a driver’s license since the shooting, and since I lived near Fred, we commuted together for the two years that I was assigned to the academy. We had numerous conversations concerning the shooting, and his heartfelt thoughts of Officer Williams. Not once did Fred express anger at the cards he was dealt. He was in constant pain from his injuries, but never complained. His intellectual capacity was diminished. Depression and family problems persisted until his death.
The only real joy Fred experienced since the shooting was being with the staff at the academy. He was a very kind. His obvious debilitation was treated with respect, and patience by staff.

For those of you that remember Tom Estes and thought he may be a bit stern with subordinates at times. You may want to think of his complete devotion and love for the Metropolitan Police Department and the welfare of its members.
Monday, 03 March 2014 15:21
John Sarnie