Jovontay Williams, who played football at Johnson C. Smith, reportedly died while in police custody in Charlotte.
His mother, Christa Williams, wants to know why.
Jovantay Williams officially died on June 13, hours after being in an encounter that morning with Charlotte police.
A police spokesman told The Charlotte Observer that officers encountered Williams while responding to a shots fired call in northwest Charlotte. While there, police said, Williams allegedly was behaving what was described as “erratically” at the scene.
Police explained that officers tried to calm Williams verbally before using non-weapon tactics to detain him after he allegedly attempted to enter a home.
Williams was taken to a local hospital in “life-threatening condition” before being transferred to another hospital for “more intensive care,” police said.
The cause of Williams’ death has not been released.
Christa Williams said she only learned of her son’s death through a television news report, not from the police department as standard practice.
“They called me after announcing my son’s name on TV,” she said. “They not supposed to put his name out before the family knows.”
Christa Williams suggested that her son died with an undisclosed “medical problem” and wouldn’t put himself in a position to be a threat to himself or others.
“Jovontay, myself and my family are not the kind of people that’s just gonna get out here and make a nuisance of ourselves,” Williams told the Observer. “We want to get facts.”
Jovontay Williams played football at Johnson C. Smith from 2012 to 2014. As a junior, defensive lineman earned Division II All-American honors in 2013.
His coach, Steven Aycock said Williams was “very passionate about the game.”
Athletic director Steve Joyner Sr. said the JSCU community and the city are saddened by Williams’ death.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Jovontay’s family and friends,” he said. “We also lift up residents of the community where the incident occurred.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up in Williams’ name to assist with funeral costs.