Attorney says Black man tased by cops was ‘electrocuted’

Attorney Dawn Blagrove is requesting that the Raleigh Police Department stop using tasers immediately and that the six officers involved in Darryl Williams’ death be fired and tried by an independent prosecutor.

The attorney for Darryl Tyree Williams’ family claims that the now-deceased Black man was electrocuted after being tased by Raleigh, North Carolina, police officers, which ended with him dying in their custody last month.

Dawn Blagrove serves as executive director of Emancipate NC, a criminal justice advocacy group representing Williams’ family. She claims Williams was racially profiled and harassed by cops during a stop-and-frisk routine, CNN reported.

“It’s heartbreaking to think about any person being electrocuted to death for nothing,” Blagrove told CNN. “In a parking lot, alone, begging, screaming and pleading for mercy that the Raleigh Police Department could not and would not offer him.” She said the officers need to be held accountable.

Darryl Tyree Williams bodycam
This screengrab shows the arrest in Raleigh, North Carolina, of Darryl Tyree Williams, who died after being tased repeatedly by police officers Jan. 17. (City of Raleigh via AP)

Blagrove is requesting that the Raleigh Police Department stop using tasers immediately and that the six officers responsible for Williams’ death — currently on administrative leave — be fired and put on trial by an independent prosecutor.

The police department claims that during an effort to arrest Williams in January, two officers tased him twice in 50 seconds.

In bodycam footage made public on Friday, Williams can be seen informing officers of his heart condition. The video shows that shortly after being tased, cops could not find Williams’ pulse and began CPR on him while waiting for the emergency medical technicians. Nearly an hour later, at a nearby hospital, Williams was declared dead.

Several days after Williams’ death, Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson reportedly sent a memo to City Manager Marchell Adams-David claiming that officers observed an open container of alcohol, marijuana, and a substance that bore the “appearance of cocaine” in the vehicle. The discovery allegedly led to the decision to arrest Williams for possessing a controlled substance.

Williams, though, can be heard on bodycam video repeatedly questioning why officers are removing him and an unidentified passenger from the car.

Blagrove contends that Williams should have been read his rights and told why he was detained or arrested, but neither of those things happened.

“The fact that they claim to have seen an open container and marijuana in the car sounds good and is a practice that we see repeatedly,” Blagrove said, CNN reported, adding that it’s a move not just from RPD “but from police departments across the country, where they retroactively create scenarios that protect them from the accountability and appearance of impropriety.”

The family attorney said Williams’ mother expressed outrage toward the bodycam footage and referenced a deep hole ripped into a mother’s soul “when she has to bury a child.”

North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation is leading a separate criminal investigation — which will determine whether charges are brought — and will deliver its conclusions to the Wake County district attorney.

RPD and the Raleigh Police Protective Association declined to respond directly to Blagrove’s claims that police failed to follow protocol. However, the Police Protective Association did say it couldn’t find any criminal actions or policy violations from the officers involved.

According to a news release from Benjamin Crump’s office, Williams’ family has also retained the well-known civil rights attorney.

“Yet again, we see a life lost too soon due to excessive and unreasonable police force,” Crump said, CNN reported. “To continue to deploy a taser on someone who discloses a heart condition and begs for mercy reflects an immense amount of apathy and blatant disregard for life, as we saw in the video footage.”

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