(RALEIGH, N.C.) — The family of Darryl Tyree Williams calls for manslaughter charges against the six Raleigh police officers involved in the fatal encounter. Williams died after being shocked several times by a Taser used by North Carolina officers on January 17th.
William’s mother, Sonya Williams, called for accountability, “I am the mother of Darryl Tyree Williams. That was my first-born. That was my only son.”
“He shouldn’t be dead and I want justice,” she said.
On Thursday, Williams family attorney Ben Crump held a joint press conference with Dawn Blagrove, executive director of emancipate NC, an organization focused on individuals affected by structural racism, demanding that the Raleigh officers be fired and charged immediately.
CCTV video obtained by police in their investigation appears to show that the encounter began as an officer conducted a “proactive patrol” in an area authorities said is notorious for drug use. Authorities say, when searching Williams, the officer found a folded dollar bill in his pocket which authorities say contained a powdery substance. He then asked Williams to exit his car. Seconds later, the officer arrested him without giving Williams a reason for either order.
A spokesman for the Raleigh Police Department declined to comment when asked by ABC News whether the officer violated departmental policy in his interactions with Williams when asking him to step out of the car and the subsequent arrest.
According to Raleigh police, upon approaching Williams’ car and opening the passenger side door, where a companion of Williams was sitting, the officer saw marijuana and an open container of alcohol. But, in the footage, the officer did not mention the drugs when asking Williams and the passenger to exit the vehicle.
The officer tried to arrest Williams for what police later said was for possession of a controlled substance, but Willams attempted to flee. Despite telling the officers he had been dealing with heart problems, the video shows Williams was shocked several times with a Taser.
After Williams was placed in handcuffs, officers called to dispatch for EMS. Noticing that Williams was unresponsive, they attempted to resuscitate him before EMS arrived. About an hour later, Williams was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to a report by Police Chief Estella Patterson released days later.
An autopsy report and a toxicology report are pending according to investigators.
Blagrove chastised Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, for what she called her lack of urgency in this matter. Instead, Blagrove is asking that the case be handed to an independent prosecutor.
“If you cannot do the job, get out of the way and let someone else do it,” she said.
AG Freeman has deferred to North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation’s ongoing probe for further comment on the case.
Williams’ death came only seven days after the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after a beating by five Memphis police officers who have since been fired and charged with second-degree murder.
The police officers involved in the Williams arrest are currently on administrative leave. The Raleigh Police Protective Association is representing CD Robinson and BL Ramge, two of the six officers placed on administrative leave. The other officers have declined to comment.
“We are here today because of systemic and institutional racism that runs rampant through the city of Raleigh. Now is the moment for us to stand together and to fight back against that institutional racism,” said Blagrove.
Co-counsel and attorney Kenneth Abbarno said, “The video gives us a wonderful opportunity to deal in the land of unrefuted fact. Nobody can accuse this legal team of making up any facts.”
The Williams family and their lawyers are confident that the security footage will speak for itself. They are asking for “swift” action in charging the officers involved.
“Thank god for video,” Crump said. “It was the private owner surveillance video here in Raleigh that captured every act, every step, every deed of those police officers.”
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