Police report: Custody death followed repeated stun gun use
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Raleigh police used stun guns three times during a struggle with a man who died in custody this month, according to a preliminary report released Monday.
Darryl Tyree Williams, 32, died at a hospital after being confronted and handcuffed by officers in the Southeast Raleigh neighborhood early Jan. 17, according to the report by Police Chief Estella Patterson.
Police had previously said officers used a stun gun, but the report provides further details.
The report said officers approached Williams as he sat in the driver’s seat of a parked car. An officer observed an open container of alcohol and marijuana in the car. Police attempted to arrest him for possession of a controlled substance after they found a folded dollar bill with white powder in his pocket, the report said.
Williams refused to put his hands behind his back to be handcuffed, resisted officers and ignored warnings that they would use stun guns, it said. After he was stunned the first of three times, Williams ran a short distance across a parking lot before losing balance and falling to the ground.
When a Taser was first held against his body, the report said Williams could be heard in an officer’s body camera video saying, “I have heart problems.” He was then stunned once more.
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Williams became unresponsive and stopped breathing after he was handcuffed. Officers rendered aid until emergency medical personnel arrived, and he was pronounced dead at a hospital. The cause of Williams’ death is under investigation.
A search of Williams’ car found two firearms, one of which had been reported stolen, the report states.
Six officers involved in the arrest are on administrative leave, and the State Bureau of Investigation is conducting a probe. The police department said it will seek a judge’s permission to release body camera and dash camera video from patrol cars.
Family and friends held a vigil Thursday night in Raleigh to honor Williams.
“He was too young. He hadn’t even really started,” his aunt, Mary Cabell, told The News & Observer. “I want some answers, and I want to know why my nephew got taken.”
Hannah Schoenbaum is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.