On Wednesday, January 13, 2010, Chief Charlie Beck, LAPD Sworn personnel, Councilwoman Jan Perry and other city dignitaries held a press conference at 6th Street and Central Avenue to name the intersection “Charles P. Williams Square” in honor of the first African American LAPD Officer killed in the line of duty.
Chief Beck recognized the relevance of Officer Williams’ sacrifice for the citizens of the community. He stated, “202 police officers have been killed in the line of duty but Charles P. Williams is more special because he died at a time when African American police officers were valued at a different level than the rest of their colleagues. It is fitting that on his anniversary we commemorate the ultimate sacrifice he paid in service to the people of Los Angeles. We must never forget the brave men and women of the LAPD, and we must never forget the contributions that African American’s have made to our city.”
Officer Williams was born on March 3, 1887, in Wharton Texas, he was appointed to the Los Angeles Police Department on August 13, 1920. He was first appointed to Central Division, and after completing probation he was assigned to the Division’s Vice Squad. On January 13, 1923, a citizen on Central Avenue flagged down Officer Williams and his partner. The citizen advised the officers a suspect was brandishing a revolver and threatening a citizen at a nearby location. While enroute to the location the officer’s vehicle broke down. Officer Williams proceeded to walk to the location. When he reached the corner of 8th Street and Stanford Avenue, he encountered the suspect. Officer Williams ordered the suspect to place his hands up, instead the suspect fired two rounds from his revolver striking Officer Williams in the abdomen. Officer Williams returned fire striking the suspect in the leg.
A truck driver passing by the location shortly after the incident transported Officer Williams to a local hospital. Unfortunately he succumbed to his injuries. A manhunt for the suspect ensued and he was captured within seven hours after fatally shooting Officer Williams.