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Damian Monroe WILLIAMS






A.K.A.: "Football"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: "L.A. Four" - Los Angeles riots
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: July 18, 2000
Date of arrest: Next day (surrenders)
Date of birth: March 17, 1973
Victim profile: Grover Tinner, 48 (drug dealer)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Los Angeles County, California, USA
Status: Sentenced to 47 years to life in prison on December 5, 2003

Damian Monroe Williams, aka Football (b. March 17, 1973), along with Henry Watson, Antoine Miller and Gary Williams, known as the L.A. Four, were responsible for the attack during the 1992 Los Angeles riots on truck driver Reginald Oliver Denny.

Williams became the most recognized participant of L.A. riots due to the live news broadcast of his attack on Denny and also possibly because of his memorable nickname. Williams was a high school football star who played briefly in a semipro league.

As Miller, Watson and another unidentified man beat Denny, Williams then threw a cinder block at Denny's head which knocked him unconscious. Williams then did a victory dance as he laughed and pointed at Denny.

He then flashed Crips gang signs at the news helicopter taping him from above. Damian Williams was arrested by Los Angeles police chief Daryl Gates himself after he started a search for them.

Williams was charged with attempted murder as well as assault and mayhem. Williams was convicted of mayhem and misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to 10 years.

In 1997, Williams was released for good behaviour. But on December 5, 2003, he received a life sentence for murdering Grover Tinner, a 48-year-old drug dealer, in July 2000. He will not be eligible for parole until he serves 47 years.


The L.A. Riots: 15 Years After Rodney King

Damian Williams

Damian Williams, a former high-school football star, was part of one of the riots' most enduring, excruciating images — the vicious attack of a white truck driver named Reginald Denny.

The intesection of Florence and Normandie had already escalated into violence, several hours after residents had heard about the verdicts in the Rodney King beating case, and now unsuspecting drivers on their way to downtown Los Angeles, became the victims of their rage.

One of the unluckiest people on this route was Denny, who was oblivious to what was transpiring in the neighborhood.

Rioters jumped onto the rig, pulled Denny from the cab of his truck and began to inflict a horrific beating, all recorded from above by a news chopper. Williams bashed Denny's head with a cinderblock, while another rioter, Henry Keith Watson stood on his neck and another spat on him; a motorcyclist even shot at the truck's gas tank, but fortunately missed.

Williams was arrested days later, but, after his lawyers successfully argued that he had not intended to kill Denny (saying the prosecutors were scapegoating the two), Williams escaped the most serious charges against him of attempted murder, assault and aggravated mayhem and was convicted instead of only four misdemeanors and simple mayhem.

Williams was released after serving four years of his 10-year sentence, but soon found himself back in jail. He was convicted of participating in the 2000 murder of an L.A. drug dealer, and in 2003 was sentenced to 46 years in prison. He is currently serving his sentence at Pelican Bay State Prison, according to California Corrections Department officials.

—Jesse Singal


Damian Monroe Williams waves to his mother on October 18, 1993, in court. Williams was found guilty of one felony count of mayhem and several misdemeanor counts in the beating of Reginald Denny during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.


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