Horrifying Video Shows Man Repeatedly Tasered By Police

Rui Vieira/PA Wire URN/ AP Photo.
A horrifying video released early this morning shows a man being tasered repeatedly, before being arrested and taken to the police station, where he was later pronounced dead. A lawsuit by the man’s family has accused the police of excessive use of force as well as wrongful death, among other charges.

According to CNN, 46-year-old Linwood Lambert was arrested in early May 2013, after police responded to several 911 noise-complaint calls at a motel in the small town of South Boston, VA. A number of disturbing statements police say Lambert made — including comments about murdering people and hiding the bodies — prompted officers to take him to the emergency room for a mental-health evaluation. Audio at the beginning of the video captures the officers reassuring Lambert that he is not under arrest, that they are only going to get him “looked at, make sure [he's] good to go.”

But, police say, once inside the squad car, Lambert’s actions turned erratic, and he attempts to kick out a window. When he got to the ER, Lambert, with his hands still cuffed behind his back, bolted for the hospital doors. Two officers emerging from the car tasered him simultaneously, and he fell to the ground. He was then officially arrested and taken to the police station, without receiving access to medical care. He was found unresponsive upon arriving at the station, and was later pronounced dead from cardiac arrest due to “acute cocaine intoxication.”

The Lambert family is disputing the medical examiner’s cause of death. Although Lambert admits to using cocaine in the video and was found to have the drug in his system after death, the lawyer for Lambert’s sister says that the role of cocaine is negligible. Her attorney, Tom Sweeney, told MSNBC that the autopsy did not take into account how many times Lambert was hit by the Taser. “There’s no reference to the fact that Lambert was tasered multiple times, by multiple police officers at the same time while he was in the back of a police car, and subsequently died shortly after that,” he was quoted as saying.

According to the Arizona-based Taser International, its stun guns, promoted as a nonlethal alternative weapon for law-enforcement officers, deliver approximately 1,200 volts of electricity to the human body. But tests conducted by the Canadian Broadcasting Company after a death in Canada found that about 10% of Tasers produced a stronger-than-advertised electrical charge — in some cases up to 50% stronger. Household current, or what comes out of the electrical outlet in your home, is only 120 volts.

In 2013, Amnesty International found that, since 2001, more than 500 people have died in cases when a Taser was listed as the cause of death or a contributing factor. Police guidelines for its use warn against repeat tasering, or for bursts of more than 15 seconds. Additionally, the safety regulations provided by Taser International warn that most of its safety testing hasn’t exceeded 15 seconds, and none has exceeded 45 seconds. The regulations also advise against using simultaneous exposures, as they can result in “increased risks.” But the video shows two officers firing their Tasers simultaneously, and MSNBC reports that the three officers combined discharged their devices a total of 20 times.

A hearing today will decide if there’s enough evidence to take the case to trial. If presented in front of a jury, all potential factors of cause of death — including the use of a Taser — will be given equal weight. It remains to be seen how the case will be pursued.

The video of the arrest is below: warning for graphic content.

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