Linwood Lambert was allegedly tasered more than 20 times in 30 minutes by police, and video of the Virginia man’s ensuing death is now stirring up controversy and adding to the heated debate over police misconduct.
Family of Lambert, 46, have filed a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit against police for the 2013 incident, USA Today noted. The video shows police picking up Lambert at 5 a.m. after receiving a noise complaint at the hotel where he was staying. Police said Lambert was acting delusional and talked about dead bodies in his room, so they drove him to the hospital to receive medical attention.
During the drive, Lambert became more agitated and began kicking the windows. He then tried to run away from police and ran into the hospital doors.
Police tasered Lambert, then arrested him for disorderly conduct and put him back into the police car. But instead of bringing him into the hospital, police drove him back to the police station over Lambert’s objections.
“Why are you trying to kill me, man,” Lambert said in the video. “Please don’t do this to me.”
Linwood Lambert lost consciousness during the car ride, and police called paramedics. He was declared dead within 90 minutes of police first picking him up, and a medical examiner later determined he had “acute cocaine intoxication,” CNN reported.
Police released a statement on Linwood Lambert’s death at the time but did not mention that police tasered the man.
“The officers took Linwood R. Lambert, Jr., 46, of Richmond, Va., into custody and transported him to Halifax Memorial Hospital for evaluation. Once they arrived at the hospital, Lambert became combative with the officers. He was then transported to the Blue Ridge Regional Jail, where it was discovered he was suffering from a medical emergency. Lambert was then transported by ambulance back to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.”
Now video of Linwood Lambert’s death has been released, showing police continually tasering the man. His sister claims that police used the taser more than 20 times in 30 minutes.
“There is no circumstance under any standard where anyone should be tased the number of times or the length of time that Mr. Lambert was tased,” Joe Messa, the family’s attorney, told USA Today.
The $25 million lawsuit claims that police covered up the circumstances related to Lambert’s death, the Richmond Times-Dispatch noted.
“The suit filed by a Philadelphia law firm on behalf of Lambert’s sister alleges a broad cover-up of details leading up to Lambert’s death. It also includes sweeping allegations of a failure on the part of South Boston authorities to reveal details of the case and to properly train their officers to use Taser stun guns.”
The video also showed that police appeared to give conflicting orders during the struggle, telling Lambert to lie down, stay down, get on his belly, and roll over, all while telling him they will use their tasers again.
“I’m going to light you up again–roll over, roll over, turn over!” said officer Bratton, a court document showed.
Linwood Lambert also pleaded with police to stop, telling them that he had taken cocaine.
“He was under obvious respiratory distress. He was perspiring heavily, breathing heavily. It appears he’s no longer responsive, and they drove him to the jail,” family attorney Tom Sweeney told CBS News, adding, “I think it’s obvious on the video tape—here’s a man who was tased repeatedly and it caused him to have cardiac arrest.”
Lambert’s death has led to outrage among many, who see the incident as another instance of police using inappropriate force. There were no charges in Lambert’s death, and MSNBC noted that all three officers involved in the incident have been promoted since then.
A full video of Linwood Lambert’s arrest and death can be found here.
[Image via YouTube]