RALEIGH, N.C. -- The family of a Black man who died after police officers in North Carolina repeatedly used Tasers on him called Thursday for officials to fire and charge the officers, noting that the dead man told the police he had heart problems.
Darryl Tyree Williams, 32, died at a hospital after being confronted and handcuffed by officers in a southeast Raleigh neighborhood about 2 a.m. on Jan. 17, according to a report by Police Chief Estella Patterson released days later.
Police have said they were arresting Williams for possession of a controlled substance and that he was stunned with a Taser three times by two different officers as they tried to take him into custody. Williams can be heard in body and dashboard camera videos released by police last week protesting that he didn’t do anything and warning that he had a heart problem.
Williams was “taken from the Earth by the very people who were supposed to protect and serve him,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump said at a news conference at a Raleigh church on Thursday. Crump, who has been retained by Williams’ family, has won multimillion-dollar settlements in numerous police brutality cases.
“When he said, ‘I have heart problems,’ you would not think that a person then would tase him again and again,” Crump said. “That’s not humanity, that’s torture.”
Dawn Blagrove with Emancipate NC, a criminal justice reform group, called for the officers to be fired and prosecuted. She also called for the department to end proactive policing and the use of Tasers.
“The investigation remains ongoing,” State Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Angie Grube wrote in an email Thursday.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman deferred on Thursday to the SBI’s ongoing probe. Freeman has said an autopsy has been conducted, but that she had not yet received a the report. Six officers are on leave as the investigation continues.
Sonya Williams, Darryl Williams' mother, said at the news conference that she had not heard from the police chief or the mayor.
“That was my first born. That was my only son” she said. “He shouldn’t be dead and I want justice.”