Police officers in South Boston, Virginia used a Taser on Linwood Lambert "over 20 times in 30 minutes" the night he died, according to the family’s attorney. New footage of the encounter, obtained by MSNBC, verifies that officers responded to a noise complaint call at a hotel during the morning of May 4, 2013. The three responding officers then reportedly decided to take Lambert to a nearby emergency room, handcuffing him before leaving the hotel.
Lambert then reportedly grew "agitated" during the ride and started kicking at the back windows, eventually managing to briefly break away from police when they stopped at the hospital. After Lambert slammed into the emergency room’s glass doors and started being subjected to the officers' Tasers, he then admitted to using cocaine earlier in the evening before being arrested for disorderly conduct and destruction of property. However, instead of giving him the opportunity to receive needed medical attention, the officers then placed him back into the police vehicle.
"Why are you trying to kill me man?" Lambert asks the officers. "Please don't do this to me." At some point on the way to the police station, officers noticed that Lambert appeared to be unconscious and called for an ambulance. He was later pronounced dead at 6:23 a.m., roughly an hour after initially being picked up at the aforementioned hotel. Though a medical examiner confirmed to CNN that Lambert died of "acute cocaine intoxication," the autopsy revealed that he actually had "less than 0.01 mg/L" of cocaine in his system. "Having a level of 5 mg/L or higher would be more consistent with death due to cocaine intoxication," emergency specialist Lewis S. Nelson tells MSNBC.
A hearing in the $25 million wrongful death suit, filed against police by Lambert’s sister, begins this week. "There is no circumstance under any standard where anyone should be tased the number of times or the length of time that Mr. Lambert was tased," the family’s attorney said in a statement. Though the case has reportedly been under investigation since 2013, no one has been charged.