Video shows Virginia police using Tasers on man who died

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 12, 2015 11:55 AM

(Reuters) - Newly released videos apparently show three small-town Virginia police repeatedly using stun guns in 2013 on an unarmed man who died shortly afterwards.

The videos obtained by MSNBC show Linwood Lambert Jr., 46, of Richmond, Virginia, being taken into custody by three South Boston officers on May 4, 2013. The footage shows him repeatedly shocked at the doors of a hospital and then slumping almost unconscious in the back of a police cruiser.

Lambert's family filed a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit in U.S. District Court in April against the South Boston officers, the police chief, the deputy chief and the town.

The videos have emerged as the United States is debating police tactics after the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of officers in Missouri, New York and elsewhere since 2014.

"We believe the police officers violated Mr. Lambert’s constitutionally protected rights by depriving him of the medical attention he desperately needed," Messa and Associates, the Philadelphia law firm representing the family, said in a statement.

The incident in South Boston, a town of about 8,000 people some 175 miles (280 km) south of Washington, was caught on police cruiser and hospital surveillance cameras. The videos were broadcast by MSNBC on Wednesday.

They show Lambert being taken into custody at a motel after a noise complaint. He was handcuffed and taken to the Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital for an evaluation.

In the hospital parking lot, Lambert bolts from one of the three police cars and crashes into the hospital doors. CBS News said police allege he kicked out a cruiser window.

The three officers approach Lambert and appear to be shocking him with their Taser devices. The officers put Lambert in a police car and took him to jail.

Officers then returned him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Lambert was black, two male officers were white and the race of the third officer, a woman, could not be determined from the videos.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Lambert's cause of death was described in court filings as cocaine intoxication. The lawsuit claims cardiac arrest was the cause.

South Boston police did not respond to a request for comment. Halifax County Commonwealth's Attorney Tracy Quackenbush Martin said in an email that the investigation into Lambert's death remained open.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Andrew Hay)