NAACP members march in protest of police custody death

AP News
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Posted: Dec 12, 2015 3:53 PM

SOUTH BOSTON, Va. (AP) — Black leaders marched in Virginia on Saturday to protest the death of a man who died in police custody after officers shocked him repeatedly with stun guns, and they vowed to continue marching until they believe that justice has been served.

Dozens of members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and other supporters gathered in South Boston, where three police officers used stun guns multiple times on Linwood Lambert Jr., whom they had brought to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.

The group is calling on the county prosecutor to swiftly complete her investigation into Lambert's death, said Kevin Chandler, head of the local NAACP. They also want an independent investigator to be appointed and have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to get involved.

Chandler said the group, holding its first march Saturday, plans to continue marching every week until their voices are heard.

"We want something done. Nobody is talking," he told The Associated Press. Lambert's sister has been marching since last month.

Videos of the officers shocking Lambert, who was black, that were released last month sparked new interest in the 2013 case, which Halifax County Commonwealth's Attorney Tracy Quackenbush Martin says remains under investigation. Martin has said that she wants to ensure she makes the correct decision and has declined to say when her investigation might be complete.

Neither Martin nor the police department immediately responded to a request for comment Saturday.

The officers had taken Lambert into custody after they responded to a noise complaint at a motel and brought him to a hospital for a mental health evaluation, according to court documents. He ran from the officers at the hospital, and instead of taking him to the ER, they took Lambert to jail.

An ambulance later brought him back to the same hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He told the officers that he had taken drugs and an autopsy report said that Lambert died of "acute cocaine intoxication."

The officers have said in court documents that they used an appropriate and necessary use of force.

Lambert's sister, who joined Saturday's march, has filed a $25 million lawsuit against the department and the three officers. The group marched from the motel where Lambert was taken into custody, to the police station and the emergency room before returning, Chandler said.