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Lawsuit seeks justice for NC man’s death in police custody

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By Shanteya Hudson, Producer

Monday, March 25, 2024   

Three attorneys are joining forces to seek justice for a North Carolina family.

At a news conference, civil rights lawyer Ben Crump – along with attorneys Dawn Blagrove with Emancipate NC and Joe Fouche – announced the filing of a $25 million lawsuit on behalf of the family of Darryl Tyree Williams.

The suit is against the City of Raleigh, Raleigh’s police chief, and five officers involved in the death of Williams.

Ben Crump said this was a case of excessive force stemming from a controversial practice of “proactive policing.”

“They used this excuse where we’re going to call them high-crime areas,” said Crump. “And because of that, those people who live there don’t have any constitutional rights.”

He said this lawsuit calls on the city and police department to be accountable in upholding the 4th Amendment rights of Black people.

Williams died on January 17, 2023, approximately one hour after being repeatedly tased.

It was originally reported that Williams was only stunned three times, however the lawsuit alleges that number was actually six – after he was already in custody and handcuffed.

Williams’ mom, Sonya Williams, stood beside her attorneys during the announcement at Mount Peace Baptist Church in Raleigh. She said for her this is about getting justice for her son.

“He was tased so many times as if he was some kind of vicious animal, and that was not right,” said Williams. “He even told them about his heart problems, and they still tased him. I want justice.”

Blagrove – also the executive director of Emancipate NC – said this case is not only about accountability, but it also aims to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else in the future.

It aims to make a change in the way tasers are handled.

“To ensure that this lawsuit is litigated in a way that is fair and just for this family,” said Blagrove, “but more importantly, in a way that results in getting a change in policies, a change in practices, a change in procedures. “

Last year, the Wake County District Attorney declined to pursue charges against the involved officers.