DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Tennessee

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Jack Smith
, United States Attorney
Contact: David Boling

Nashville Man Facing Federal Firearms Charges After Ramming Metro Nashville Police Cruiser to Escape Arrest

U.S. Attorney Reiterates Zero Tolerance for Violence Against Law Enforcement Officers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – May 23, 2017 –  Joe Lewis Williams, Jr.,  of Nashville, Tenn., was indicted on May 18, 2017, and charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, announced Jack Smith, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. 
 
Williams was initially arrested on April 12, 2017, by officers of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, after a series of events where he attempted to evade arrest and subsequently assaulted a Metro police officer.
 
“This is another example of an assault against a law enforcement officer where the defendant now faces federal charges,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jack Smith.  “I want this message to be heard loud and clear-if you commit an act of violence directed at a law enforcement officer in this district, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will review the incident to determine if there is a basis to bring federal charges.  There will be zero tolerance for acts of violence against law enforcement officers in this district.”
 
According to a criminal complaint, issued on April 14, 2017, on the afternoon of April 12, 2017, a MNPD officer was exiting the Mercury Court Apartments on Murfreesboro Pike, when he saw a vehicle pulling into the parking lot.  The officer recognized the vehicle as matching the description of one that was involved in an earlier hit-and-run and also recognized the driver as Williams, who he knew was wanted on an outstanding warrant for violation of probation. 
 
The MNPD officer conducted a stop of Williams and ordered him two times to place his vehicle in park.  Williams refused and pulled away, rammed the officer’s patrol car and pushed it out of the way to allow him to exit the parking lot.  Williams then fled the area and was found minutes later by another MNPD officer, parked at the rear of a nearby hotel and standing outside the vehicle.  Williams ignored the officer’s orders and ran through the hotel’s breezeways before being caught by the officer.  Williams resisted and struggled with the officer and as the officer was about to deploy his Taser, he noticed a handgun protruding from William’s pocket.  In an attempt to gain control of Williams and the firearm, the officer dropped the Taser and as the struggle continued, Williams lunged toward the Taser, before being subdued with the assistance of another MNPD officer.  Officers recovered a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, loaded with 13 live rounds and drug paraphernalia from Williams.
 
Williams had previously been convicted by the State of Tennessee of possession with intent to sell cocaine and had prior federal felony convictions for carjacking, use of a firearm in commission of a crime of violence, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and aggravated identity theft. 
 
If convicted, Williams faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 
 
An indictment is merely an accusation.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. 
 
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives and the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Rascoe Dean is prosecuting the case.
           
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Field Division: Nashville Field Division