NEW YORK — The father of an Indiana University student shot and killed while visiting New York City in 2020 is now speaking out against the New York judicial system and the bail set for his son’s accused killer.
20-year-old Ethan Williams of Indianapolis was sitting on a stoop in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood when he was struck by a bullet to the chest on October 24, 2020. Police originally said it was either a stray bullet or the gunman targeting Williams in a case of mistaken identity.
Last week, police arrested William Freeman, 26, in connection to the deadly shooting. Freeman told investigators he had fired the shots because he wrongly thought that one of Williams’ friends was a rival gang member, according to the New York Post.
The suspect Freeman, who has previously been arrested nine times, was reportedly given a $350,000 bail by a Brooklyn judge despite objections from prosecutors, the Post reports.
For the first time since the arrest and bail announcement, Ethan’s father Jason Williams is speaking publicly.
“Total shock, unbelievable,” Jason said Sunday on “Fox and Friends”. “It felt as an act of malice to hear that a judge would grant bail to someone who had just previously within the day or two before confessed to murdering my child.”
During the nationally-televised interview, Jason said he has learned that some of the judges in Brooklyn’s legal system are called “machine judges”. He alleged that, due to political connections and aspirations to remain in office, judges sometimes go easy on accused criminals.
“This judge received over 99% of the vote because it’s New York City and it’s a Democratic city,” he said. “Yet, he’s letting murderers walk free on the streets. This murderer’s been free for two years, and he gave him another chance.”
The mourning father said he and his family were optimistic his son’s killer would not be able to make bail and added that it is “scary” he even had the opportunity to.
“It felt very malicious towards victims, towards families,” he said. “I know we’re not the only one who has suffered through this. It was just unbelievable.”
To watch Williams’ full interview on “Fox and Friends”, click on the video above.
The 20-year-old Williams was in New York City with friends to make skateboarding videos when he was killed. A ramp at the Willard Park Skatepark in Indianapolis was created in honor of Williams, who loved both skating and reading.
Jason Williams told FOX59 News his son was an honors graduate from Franklin Central High School, served as a Charter Member of the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council, and was a sophomore media and film major at IU.
He was also studying the Rwandan language at IU and was interested in returning to Rwanda, where he previously volunteered to care for orphans, to continue working.
But above all, Jason Williams said his son was an advocate for helping Indianapolis’ youth and putting an end to youth violence.
“He was a very strong advocate for those kids and for those communities so the irony of what happened to him is not lost on me,” said Williams. “He was just a really well-rounded, really neat, big-hearted kid who refused to engage in anything that would be close to violence.”