Raleigh man tased 3 times, claimed heart problems before dying in custody: report says
RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) - Almost one week after Raleigh police reported a man died in their custody, the department has published a preliminary report.
In it, police say the victim, Darryl Williams told officers he has a history of heart problems before he died. The report says Williams was tased a total of three times.
According to Raleigh Police Department policies on using these “conducted energy weapons,” they are advised not to be used if a subject is offering “passive resistance.” That can include “physical resistance that does not pose an imminent threat of assault.”
The protocols also state Tasers should not be used “simply because a suspect is running away from an officer.” The guidelines add the weapon “may be used if officers believe the subject is wanted for a violent felony.”
The newly published report says around 1:55 a.m., Officers J.T Thomas and C.D. Robinson were conducting “proactive patrols” of the businesses in the 800 block of Rock Quarry Road. The report says the area has a history of “repeat calls for service for drugs, weapons, and other criminal violations.”
Raleigh police say when Robinson got to the area, they called over police radio for additional officers to assist with patrols. The report did not say why Robinson requested additional officers.
The report says Officer D.L. Aquino arrived shortly thereafter. When Thomas parked his patrol car, the report says they walked up to a vehicle and checked on the occupants. At the same time, Robinson is reported to have approached a second vehicle occupied by two people—one in the driver’s seat and one in the front right passenger seat.
The person in the driver’s seat was later identified as Williams. Officers reported they noticed an open container of alcohol and marijuana in the car when the person sitting in the passenger side opened their door. At this point, RPD’s report says officers asked Williams and the passenger to get out of the vehicle.
The preliminary report claims that as the two got out of the vehicle, Aquino and Thomas approached to assist Robinson. During what RPD is referred to as an “investigative detention,” the report says Robinson found a folded dollar bill in Williams’ pocket containing a white powdery substance. Police reported it was consistent with the appearance of cocaine.
It’s then that a fourth officer, J.R. Scott arrived, according to the new RPD report. At this point, the report says Robinson made the decision to arrest Williams for possession of a controlled substance. When attempting to arrest him, the officers claim Williams became “combative and resistant.”
RPD’s report says the officers called for additional police assistance, “including the need for an immediate response.” The four officers already on scene continued to attempt to take Williams into custody, according to the report. The officers claimed Williams continued to resist, overpowering and pulling away from them.
While not naming a specific officer, the report says officers told Williams, “Stop or you are going to get tased!” The report says Robinson deployed his Taser. The report says Williams then fell to the ground in front of one of the businesses in the area.
The report says officers continued to call for Williams to stop resisting and to place his hands behind his back. Those officers claimed he continued to actively resist. RPD’s report said Thomas deployed his Taser again but did not make contact.
Police said Williams was able to break away from the officers and ran a short distance across the parking lot. Robinson is then reported to have deployed his Taser a second time, missing Williams.
The report further said that as Williams was running, he lost his balance and fell forward to the ground. When officers caught up to him, RPD’s report says officers caught up to Williams and “continued to struggle with him on the ground as he tried to get back up.”
Another two officers, D.L. Grande and B.L. Ramge, then arrived and began to assist the other four officers. RPD’s report claims all six continued to struggle getting Williams into custody.
The report claims that over the course of 50 seconds, there were two separate Taser deployments directly onto Williams body—one by Thomas that made contact with Williams’ side and another from Robinson that made contact with the left side of Williams’ chest.
After the first stun to the body, RPD’s report claims Williams can be heard on police bodycams, “I have heart problems.”
The following is a timeline according to RPD’s report:
Approximately 2 a.m. — Officers were able to get Williams into handcuffs and placed him on his side.
2:02 a.m. — Officers called for Emergency Medical Services to evaluate Williams, something RPD says is required when a Taser is makes direct contact with the body.
2:02 a.m. — EMS and Raleigh Fire Department were dispatched. RPD claims officers continued to evaluate Williams’ pulse and respirations themselves while waiting on EMS.
Although unclear about the exact timing, RPD says officers realized Williams was unresponsive, not breathing and without a pulse. RPD said officers immediately began CPR.
2:06 a.m. — Officers contacted dispatch again asking for EMS to expedite their response. While already have reported that officers began CPR and informed dispatch officers had begun performing CPR.
RPD says officers continued to provide medical assistance to Williams until EMS and Fire arrived shortly. Williams was then transported to the hospital.
3:01 a.m. — Williams was pronounced deceased.
A cause of death was not released in the RPD report. They stated a search of the vehicle occupied by Williams turned up two firearms, marijuana and suspected controlled substances were also recovered from the vehicle.
In looking into Williams’ history, CBS 17 found past charges against him include trafficking opium/heroin, possession of controlled substances, and larceny from an employee.
Following the in-custody death, six officers were placed on administrative leave. RPD said all of the involved officers’ body cams and their patrol vehicle dash cams captured the incident. “As is standard protocol and in the spirit of transparency, the Department will petition for the release of relevant agency recordings,” RPD said. North Carolina law requires police departments to petition a judge before body cam and dash cam video can be released.
Police say the passenger in the car with Williams ran off during the altercation with police.
The State Bureau of Investigation is also looking into the death. SBI investigates anytime an officer fires a weapon.
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