WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Family, friends and community members came together at Marvin Gaye Recreation Center in Northeast D.C. to pay their respects to Dominique Williams and James Johnson, the two men who were killed by an off-duty Pentagon Police Officer on April 7, 2021.
Among the crowd of family and friends were D.C. and Maryland Councilmembers, pastors and those who have also lost loved ones to violence with an officer. Family members and officials spoke to the crowd between musical breaks with local artists.
Williams’s cousin spoke on behalf of his family. She said, “Something’s got to give. Today. No more can we do this.”
What she said echoed through each speaker who came up. Reverend Graylan Scott Hagler, of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ and Faith Strategies, LLC, said, “Badges and guns and oaths somehow continue to take Black life needlessly, and somebody doesn’t even have to pay the price. Well, not this time.”
There was a mutual call for accountability of Officer David Hall Dixon’s actions. Dixon said he shot the two men because he thought they were stealing a car from his apartment complex.
Williams’s cousin said, “My cousin died because a man thought. A thought. How many thoughts do we have a day and we can’t have action on?”
Her feelings were echoed by the mother of Johnson’s two-year-old son. She said, “It seems that the only protocol that was used in this case, and in too many others, is shoot first and ask questions last.”
The officer has been arrested and charged with the crime, but for the group, accountability is only a piece of justice.
Montgomery County At-Large Councilmember Will Jawando explained, “The next step we have to do, so we’re not here again. So I’m not here next week or the week after is get these people off the force and completely change the way we do policing.”
As the loved ones continue on without their family member, they say their strength comes in knowing they are being watched over.
Williams’s cousin said, “I know he’s looking down on us, and he’s going to continue to give us each strength to make it through each day.”
Dixon is currently being held without bond as he awaits an initial court appearance. If convicted of all charges, he could spend a maximum of 180 years in prison.