Family of US teen killed by police calls for probe

2019-07-10 08:41
Hannah Williams.

Hannah Williams. (Supplied, Twitter)

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The family of a 17-year-old girl fatally shot by a police officer in California on Tuesday called for the state's attorney general to launch an independent probe into the killing.

The girl, identified by her family as Hannah Williams, died on Friday following an encounter with a Fullerton police officer near her home in Anaheim, south of Los Angeles.

Authorities have refused to discuss the case or provide details about the shooting but said on Tuesday that a replica handgun designed to look like a Beretta 92FS had been recovered near the victim.

The Orange County district attorney's office said the on-duty officer was taking his K-9 dog to the veterinarian for a medical procedure in a police car when he saw the teen driving at high speed on the highway.

It said the two vehicles at some point made physical contact.

The Reverend Jarrett Maupin, a family spokesperson, insisted that Williams was unarmed and said it was unclear who owned the replica gun found at the scene.

He said Williams was driving a rental car when the incident took place and noted that she let others use the vehicle at times.

Family members gathered outside Anaheim City Hall on Tuesday demanding answers and calling for an independent probe.

"The public wants to know what happened and whether or not the officers involved followed all policies and procedures. We have doubts," the family said in a statement.

It also called on civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton to intervene in the case.

"We want Rev. Sharpton to shine a light on what happened here in Anaheim," said Benson Williams, the teen's father. "We want to know why police felt the need to shoot and kill a 17-year-old unarmed teen girl."

The family said it was "more than devastated not only by what happened to Hannah but the resulting news reports and events that have transpired since July 5".

"Losing Hannah is hard. The circumstances in which we lost her have made it that much harder," said the statement which was read by Williams' godmother.

"As of today we still do not have clear answers about what happened to Hannah. The information we have received from the police department has changed several times."

The Orange County district attorney's office said it was investigating the shooting with assistance from Anaheim police, while Fullerton police are conducting an administrative review.

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