A new investigation into the death of a Virginia man in police custody two years ago has unveiled video and surprising details about the night of his death.
According to MSNBC, South Boston police officers arrived in the early morning of May 4, 2013 around 5 a.m. at a hotel where a noise complaint was made. Police allege Linwood “Ray” Lambert disturbed other guests and that he was acting paranoid and hallucinating. Officers put him in a squad car to go to the hospital for medical care. Though they handcuffed him, they assured him, “we’re not locking you up, we’re going to the ER.”
As they pulled up to the hospital, Lambert kicked out a squad car window and ran out the passenger door the moment it was cracked open, crashing into the glass door of the ER. Three officers, Cpl. Tiffany Bratton, Officer Clifton Mann and Officer Travis Clay, ran after him and tased him simultaneously. Lambert fell to the ground with his hands still cuffed and unable to break his fall.
Over the course of the video, Lambert is then tased multiple times, a total of 20 times in about half an hour. One nurse claimed that “three officers” tased him “at one time.”
As the officers repeatedly threaten to hit and tase Lambert, he says, “Why are you trying to kill me, man?” and asks them to please stop the tasing.
Finally, the officers decide not to take Lambert inside for the medical help they came to get in the first place and instead shackled his feet and put him in the squad car, announcing he was under arrest.
Lambert was tased again inside the car as he sat in the backseat and was subdued as one officer was speaking with a hospital worker, who asked if the officers were bringing Lambert inside.
“He’s bleeding like a hog,” he said, “we thought he was crazy, and then he finally told us he was on cocaine.”
However, when officers arrive at the jail, they noticed that Lambert was unconscious. They checked his pulse, attempted CPR and then called for help. An ambulance arrived to take Lambert to the very hospital they had just driven from, but he was pronounced dead just over an hour after the trip began.
The new video footage has come to light this year after Lambert’s sister, Gwendolyn Smalls, filed a $25 million civil suit against the city, alleging excessive force, wrongful death, and denial of medical care, among other claims. The South Boston police deny all allegations of wrongdoing.