RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WDBJ7) A county prosecutor in Virginia says she won't seek criminal charges against police officers who used stun guns multiple times on a black man before his death.
In a report released Tuesday, Halifax County Commonwealth's Attorney Tracy Quackenbush Martin said there's no evidence to suggest the officers "deliberately caused or wanted" Linwood Lambert Jr.'s death.
Lambert died in May 2013 after being taken into custody by South Boston Police Officers Tiffany Bratton, Clifton Mann and Travis Clay for a mental evaluation.
The medical examiner said Lambert died of "acute cocaine intoxication."
Martin said she found no reason to conclude that the stun guns, rather than the drugs, caused Lambert's death.
Lambert's sister, Gwendolyn Smalls, told The Associated Press on Monday that the prosecutor's decision is "heartbreaking."
Halifax County Commonwealth's Attorney Tracy Quackenbush Martin released a report for the investigation of the death of Linwood Lambert.
The report concludes that no criminal charges will be filed against the three South Boston police officers who tased Lambert several times.
Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney assisted Martin in the report. Click here to read the report.
"I cannot conclude that the officers were indifferent to whether Mr. Lambert lived or died, which is the essence of criminal negligence. Even if I could faithfully conclude that Mr. Lambert’s death was the direct result of the officers’ actions or omissions, which I cannot, I agree with Mr. Herring’s opinion that the evidence fails to support a good faith
basis to believe the officers’ actions were so culpable or gross as to indicate a callous disregard of human life. I concur with Mr. Herring’s conclusions that the evidence does not support a finding of criminal negligence. Because both causation and intent are lacking, no charge of involuntary manslaughter is viable," Martin wrote.
"For all the foregoing reasons, I find there is no good faith basis to believe any violation of state criminal law applies to the facts of this case and, therefore, I decline to seek criminal charges against the officers," Martin added.
The sister of a Virginia man who died after repeatedly being shocked with stun guns by police says a prosecutor has decided not to bring charges against the officers.
Gwendolyn Smalls and her attorney told The Associated Press on Monday that Halifax County Commonwealth's Attorney Tracy Quackenbush Martin said she doesn't believe there's enough evidence to bring criminal charges against South Boston Police Officers Tiffany Bratton, Clifton Mann and Travis Clay.
Martin didn't immediately respond to messages Monday.
Videos released last year show the officers shocking Linwood Lambert Jr. multiple times after he kicked out a police cruiser's back window and ran to the doors of an emergency room while handcuffed.
An autopsy report said Lambert died of "acute cocaine intoxication."
Smalls says the prosecutor's decision is "very upsetting."
Smalls is still in the middle of a civil suit against the South Boston Police officers involved.
Earlier this year, a federal judge said two of the officers could have used excessive force when they used tasers after Lambert was unresponsive.
Judge Jackson Kiser denied motions for summary judgement because of qualified immunity protection for Corporal Tiffany Bratton and Officer Travis Clay.
Lambert "thrust his head and his torso toward the rear right door" of the police car after being tasered outside the hospital, Kiser noted in his memorandum opinion. After Lambert was tasered more times by officers he became unresponsive. Bratton and Clay tasered him still eight more times.
"For that brief time, Decedent was barely capable of rolling, and he remained secured to the ground," Kiser wrote. "There was no immediate threat of violence or risk of flight, and the rolling over did not warrant the force used. In Plaintiff’s best light, these tasings were excessive."
That opinion has been appealed by the defendants to the U.S. Court of Appeals.