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Another day, another Black man dies at the hands of aggressive cops resulting in another lawsuit alleging police brutality, this time in North Carolina.

Police Taser

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Last January, 32-year-old Darryl Tyree Williams died in Raleigh after being tased several times by police officers who suspected him of drug-related activity.

According to a wrongful death lawsuit filed Monday by famed civil attorney Ben Crump and two other lawyers, Williams was tased six times, once while he was handcuffed and after he complained that he had a heart condition. According to News & Observer, the cops claim Williams was actually only tased three times, but they don’t appear to be disputing anything else.

Let’s start with what Raleigh officials say happened.

In a city report released days after Williams died, the city wrote that officers Christopher Robinson and Jeremiah Thomas were checking on an area with a history of reports of drugs, weapons and other criminal violations when they spotted Williams and another man in a car with “an open bottle with an alcoholic drink and marijuana.”

Officer Robinson said he searched Williams, finding in his pocket a folded dollar bill with a white substance that looked like cocaine, added News & Observer, citing the police report.

When Robinson started to arrest Williams, he reportedly ran and officers tased him causing him to fall to the ground. After “struggling” with the police, Williams ran again but then tripped and fell. The officers deployed their Tasers two other times, but missed, the city report states.

Police body camera footage from the night of the incident shows Williams gasping for air as he told officers that he had a heart condition.

“I have heart problems,” he can be heard saying. “Please. Please.”

An autopsy later confirmed that Williams died from “sudden cardiac arrest.”

The lawsuit, which seeks $25 million in damages to be paid by the city, alleges that the officers used excessive force against Williams when he posed no immediate threat to them and that he was already subdued when they continued to use their Tasers on him.

“Tasers have proved time and time again to be potentially deadly to people with heart conditions, like Darryl. Tasing someone six times is unreasonable and excessive, especially when they show no threat to officers,” attorney Ben Crump who is representing Williams’ family said in a statement sent to BOSSIP. “We hope that this lawsuit can bring about some civil accountability since the family failed to see even an ounce of criminal accountability for Darryl’s unnecessary death.”

The suit noted that Williams was being pinned down by four officers at the scene and that his hands were visibly empty at the time. It also contends that Robinson was training Thomas during the arrest, and both only received eight hours of instruction related to using a Taser.

According to Raleigh police policies, officers are not to use their Tasers on a suspect who is running away unless that suspect poses an immediate threat to themselves or others, reports News & Observer.

The suit claims that after Williams warned officers that he had heart problems, Robinson “responded by verbally counting down from three in quick succession before tasing Mr. Williams a fifth time.”

“He was tased so many times, as if he was a vicious animal, and that was not right,” said Williams’ mother, Sonya Williams, who filed the lawsuit in the federal eastern district against the city, Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson and five of the officers involved in Williams’ arrest.

This has all the makings of a case that will play out as an uphill battle for Williams to be regarded as anything less than a drug abuser and criminal who boot-licker America will dismiss and say deserved what he got. A state medical examiner ruled his death a homicide and said he died due to cocaine use, getting into a physical confrontation with police and being tased multiple times. Williams’ family and legal team are going to have to hope the courts don’t stop at the cocaine part and ignore the unnecessary tasing.

This would be as good a time as any to remind people that possibly being guilty of criminal behavior shouldn’t erase a person’s humanity and right to live, but especially when the suspect is Black, it tends to be the only excuse cops need and the only excuse the so-called justice system needs to sweep police brutality under the rug.


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