When three Virginia police officers put Linwood Lambert in a squad car around 5 a.m., they said they were taking him to the ER for medical attention because he was speaking delusionally. Just over an hour later, Lambert was dead.
According to MSNBC: “Linwood “Ray” Lambert, a 46-year-old man who worked in construction, was staying at a Super 8 motel in South Boston, a town of about 8,000 people in Southern Virginia. In the middle of the night of May 4, 2013, police received calls about noise complaints at the hotel.
Since Lambert was unarmed and not suspected of any crime, the officers did not arrest him. They thought he needed medical care, so they told him to come on the short trip to Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital.
The officers cuffed Lambert’s hands for the ride, but assured him, “we’re not locking you up, we’re going to the ER”
The three officers, Cpl. Tiffany Bratton, Officer Clifton Mann and Officer Travis Clay, departed the hotel in three police cars. Video from one shows an officer calling the hospital, asking for the mental health care worker on duty.
On the ride, Lambert looks increasingly agitated. The video shows him asking about a light in the backseat, and then about a squad car trailing them. An officer tells him, “you good, trust me.”
A few minutes later, though, everything changed.
As the officers pulled up to the hospital, Lambert kicked out the squad car window.
Video from inside the car shows officers yelling at him to stop. When they cracked the passenger door, Lambert jumped out, sprinting roughly 20 feet towards the ER entrance and crashing into the building’s glass doors.
The officers ran after him and began tasing him. In response, Lambert’s body goes stiff and, with his hands cuffed, his arms could not break the fall when he hit the cement. The three officers surrounded him on the ground.
One ordered him to “stay down;” another, Officer Bratton, told him, “Every time you get up, I’m going to pop you.”
Lambert told them, “I didn’t do nothing,” and can be heard moaning in the recording. The officers tell Lambert to lie down, stay down, get on his belly, and roll over – while warning they will taser him again.
“I’m going to light you up again – roll over, roll over, turn over!” Bratton says.
Lambert remained on the ground, saying OK, but the officers tased him again. They restrained his legs with shackles.
Then, as Lambert appears subdued on the video, the officers warned Lambert they would taser him again. “I’m going to hit you again,” Bratton tells him.
Then Lambert says, “I just did cocaine.”
For the first time that night, officers tell Lambert he is under arrest, calling it in for disorderly conduct and destruction of property.
Lambert pleads to the officers, “Why are you trying to kill me, man?,” and asks them to stop the tasing, saying, “don’t do it, please don’t do it, please officers.”
As videos from the hospital and police cars show (video below), the entire scene plays out right in the doorway to the ER, with nurses and hospital staff watching. But then the officers make a fateful decision – to take Lambert away without getting him medical care, the original reason they took him into custody.
Instead, they hauled him back into the squad car and began a new round of tasing.
As the officers make the short drive to jail, the squad car video shows Lambert unconscious. The officers notice his state when arriving at the jail, where they checked Lambert’s pulse, attempted CPR and called for help.
Then an ambulance came and took Lambert back to Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital – the same ER the officers had originally brought Lambert to for treatment.
Hospital records show Lambert was flatlined on arrival at 6:06 a.m. – just over an hour after his trip with police began. He was pronounced dead at 6:23 a.m.
The family filed a civil suit against the police this summer, alleging excessive force, wrongful death, denial of medical care and other claims, which the police categorically deny.
That $25 million suit led to a court order forcing police to give Lambert’s sister, Gwendolyn Smalls the videos from that night.
Linwood Lambert’s Full Encounter with Virginia police
Read the full story at MSNBC.