Six North Carolina police officers are on administrative leave following the death of a man in police custody.
Six Raleigh, NC police officers are on administrative leave and are currently under investigation after a man died in their custody last month, according to statements and newly released Raleigh Police Department videos.
Darryl Tyree Williams, 32, died at Raleigh Hospital in the early hours of January 17 after a fight with police, during which he was shocked several times by police officers and arrested.
The NC Bureau of Investigation is conducting an independent criminal investigation and will present its findings to the Wake County District Attorney, Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson said in a memo to city manager Marcell Adams-David days after Williams’ death.
A Wake County judge authorized Friday the release of footage from the officers’ body cameras, as well as area surveillance footage and patrol car dashcams related to the incident.
At approximately 1:55 a.m., officers conducted “preemptive patrols” of businesses in an area that police say has a history of criminal violations, according to a memo and body camera footage.
The video shows Officers J. T. Thomas and C. D. Robinson entering the parking lot, then approaching the car and talking to its occupants.
Robinson then walks through the parking lot to another car containing two people, including Williams, who was driving.
The officer then opens the passenger door and asks what the passengers are doing before asking Williams and the passenger to get out of the vehicle. According to the memo, Robinson allegedly saw open container with alcohol and marijuana in the car.
In the video, Williams and an unidentified passenger can be heard repeatedly asking Robinson why they are being pulled from the car.
“What’s happening?” Williams asked several times as Robinson positioned him in front of his car to conduct a full search.
“Keep both hands on the car. If you can’t listen to my instructions, I will handcuff you,” Robinson says in the video. “I’m not trying to handcuff you.”
By this point—about a minute into the meeting—Robinson had not told Williams why he was being searched.
Moments later, Robinson pulls a folded dollar bill from Williams’ side pocket and points to the video that he found a white powdery substance folded in the bill.
According to the memo, Robinson decided to arrest Williams for possession of a controlled substance based on his findings at the scene.
Williams is heard asking “why” and “what’s going on” as Robinson attempts to handcuff him. Another officer tries to help Robinson and Thomas apprehend Williams as they yell at him to “lay on the ground” while another officer calls for backup.
Robinson then used his taser, which contacted Williams as he tried to flee, while other officers continued to yell at him to put his hands behind his back.
According to police, another stun gun was used, but he did not make contact.
After the fight, Williams again tried to escape from the police, but lost his balance and fell while trying to run across the parking lot.
At this point, the stun gun was again used, which police said also did not contact Williams.
An officer is heard yelling at Williams to “lay on the fucking ground”. the officers seemed to shift their weight to the top him to prevent the man from getting up.
Police said Robinson and Thomas used two separate stun guns in “stun mode”, which both contacted Williams about 50 seconds later.
According to the memo, Thomas’ taser touched Williams’ side, while Robinson’s taser touched the left side of Williams’ back.
The video shows Williams clearly and audibly in distress as officers continued to yell at him to stay on the ground with his hands behind his back.
“Put your hands behind your back or you’ll be tasered,” one of the officers said.
At this point, Williams is heard saying that he has “heart problems” and begging the officers to stop.
The officer then counted down from three before using the stun gun again.
Williams is then heard screaming and seen writhing under the officers, who were still yelling at him to put his hands behind his back.
At that moment, the police handcuffed Williams, as “unintentional activation of the stun gun” was heard, but, according to the police, no contact was made.
Robinson is heard telling the other officers to search Williams as the officers try to move him into a “recovery” position.
Another officer is heard telling Williams to “relax”.
Police then requested an ambulance response at 2:02 a.m., which is in line with policy, the memo said.
Moments later, an officer is heard asking if Williams is “still good” and “is he still breathing”.
An officer is heard saying that he can’t feel Williams’ pulse as the other officers try to wake him up.
“He’s breathing,” one of the officers can be heard speaking. “He is good.”
Officers then removed the taser from Williams’ body before asking again if he was breathing.
The officers found no pulse and began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Williams.
They then made another call to the control room asking for an expedited 2:06 am ambulance response.
Fire Department Rescuers Roles then arrived at the scene and took charge of CPR, according to the video.
The video cuts off before the ambulance arrives.
It is not clear if the police were able to find the passenger in the car, who appeared to have fled the scene.
“Mr. Williams was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he was declared deceased at 3:01 a.m. Williams’ death, including toxicology results, will form part of an ongoing investigation,” the memo said.
Police seized two firearms, marijuana and suspected controlled substances from Williams’ car, the memo said.
According to the memo, Officers Robinson, Thomas, D.L. Aquino, J.R. Scott, D.L. Grande and B.L. Ramj were placed on administrative leave.
In a statement to CNN, Dawn Blagrove, chief executive of Emancipate NC, the legal defense team representing the Williams family, said the family is “demanding immediate justice.”
“This is what his mother wants the world to know. Justice not only for Darryl Tyree Williams, but for all victims of state-sanctioned violence across the country,” Blagrove said.
“It’s time for the city of Raleigh and all of America to reflect on the trauma and harm the police are doing to black, brown and marginalized communities,” Blagrove told CNN.
CNN contacted the Raleigh Police Department, the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation and Wake County Medical Examiner’s Office on Saturday.
The Raleigh Police Protection Association, which represents the two officers involved in the incident, told CNN in a statement that “prayers and thoughts are with the Williams family” and that he had reviewed the video of the “tragic incident”.
“At this point, we have not been able to identify any criminal acts or policy violations by the officers involved. We respect the process and acknowledge that this incident is currently being investigated by the SBI,” RPPA Vice President Rick Armstrong said Saturday. statement.