Chad Williams Designs Streetwear and Fights for Criminal Justice Reform
The BTS alum opens up about the arrest that led him to launch his clothing line 'dooProcess
When Chad Williams was arrested in 2019, he was in absolute disbelief. The Beat the Streets alum and recent Buffalo State graduate was only a college junior at the time, hanging out with some classmates in downtown Buffalo on what he thought was a typical weekend night.
Williams recalls trying to help his friend into an Uber, when the driver suddenly started panicking and pointing his finger at him.
“He kept repeating the word ‘no’ at me,” Williams said. “He was screaming at me to not get into the car.”
Confused, Williams says he started walking closer toward the car, when he saw that the driver’s face was bloodied on the left side. The next thing he knew, the police arrived and he was promptly arrested and sent to jail for the night.
“I realized later that someone else had punched him,” Williams said. “I guess he just pointed at the next black guy."
Williams spent the entirety of the next year fighting the court case. It was prolonged, he said, by an unresponsive public defender and a judge who "looked at me like I was guilty already."
Eventually, given a lack of evidence, the case was finally dropped. But he says going through the convoluted process opened his eyes to the flaws of the criminal justice system.
“It should have been easy to prove my innocence,” Williams said. “Because it was so dragged out, I missed my cousin’s graduation. I almost missed my uncle’s funeral.”
In response to this frustration, Williams launched a clothing line called ‘dooProcess.’ The name is a nod to the legal principle of due process, or fair treatment through the judicial system. Through his website, Williams sells T-shirts and hoodies with the dooProcess logo to raise awareness of the legal right. He then donates 15 percent of proceeds to defense funds that fight social injustices.
Despite its relative newness, dooProcess has already garnered significant praise. In May, Williams took first place at the 2020 New York Business Plan Competition in the Consumer Products and Services division. He has also been acknowledged by local news outlets for handing out free T-shirts at George Floyd protests.
To Williams, dooProcess is not just a business, but also a cause. He is fighting for criminal justice reform and hopes to start his own defense fund in the coming future.
“I want to give students scholarships to law school and have them come out and help fight social injustice cases nationwide,” Williams said.
As for the country’s current state of unrest, Williams is hopeful that positive change will come.
“We’ve just got to keep going until there’s change,” he said. “There might be backlash, but people are responding. We need that response.”
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