Subscribe
First Look

Virginia man dies after 20 tasings by police (+video)

A newly published video shows three Virginia police officers discharged their stun guns 20 times at Linwood Lambert Jr. during about 30 minutes.

  • close
    Minneapolis Sgt. Ron Bellendier shows the business end of a Taser stun gun, in 2004, in Minneapolis.
    (AP Photo/Star Tribune, David Brewster
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

Graphic video footage released Wednesday of three Virginia police officers repeatedly tasing a man who later died in their custody has brought renewed attention to the use of stun guns in law enforcement.

The video shows the officers in South Boston, Va., repeatedly shocking Linwood Lambert Jr. multiple times while he is handcuffed, outside of a hospital where the officers had initially taken him for medical help.

The incident occurred in May 2013, but a MSNBC report that aired Wednesday was the first time the new footage has been publically released. It’s the latest example of a policing paradox that has civil rights advocates alarmed: stun guns are supposed to prevent the use of deadly force, not become another source of it.

Yet an investigation by the Associated Press in April detailed at least eight fatal stun-gun shootings of black men by police in confrontations in recent years.

These immobilizing weapons are useful, but can give officers "a really false reassurance that you have more control over a situation than you do," Eugene O'Donnell, a former New York City police officer, told the AP.

The newly released footage shows police picking up Lambert in the early morning after receiving a noise complaint from the motel he was staying in. The officers, who were not named in the lawsuit, took him to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.

When they arrived at the hospital, Lambert kicked out the window of the police cruiser and ran toward the emergency room doors. The officers chased after Lambert and shocked him repeatedly.

MSNBC reported that the three officers discharged their stun guns 20 times over about 30 minutes.

"Why are you trying to kill me, man?" Lambert says while lying on the ground.

Mr. Lambert's family filed a $25 million lawsuit in April, accusing the officers of unlawfully arresting him and using "excessive, unreasonable, and deadly force."

The family’s attorney, Joe Messa, told CNN he couldn't believe what he was seeing on the video.

"It's outrageous. It's uncalled for," he said. "It's the kind of thing that shocks your conscience, and it shocks my conscience as an attorney and should shock the conscience of the public."

Lambert told the officers in the video that he did cocaine and an autopsy report said he died of "acute cocaine intoxication." He was not armed and not accused of any crime.

Defendants, including the officers and the town, have denied the family’s allegations. No one has been charged in Lambert's death. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Thursday.

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK