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Halifax County Commonwealth's Attorney discusses Linwood Lambert investigation

(WDBJ)
Published: May. 3, 2016 at 5:52 PM EDT
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It's a case that has received nationwide attention-- a man in police custody, tased over and over and eventually dying.

Some have called for criminal charges against the South Boston police officers but on Tuesday the Halifax County Commonwealth's Attorney said no.

Two Commonwealth's attorneys, one from Halifax County and the other from Richmond, reviewed this case.

They both said the law doesn't match up with the intent of the officers.

In 2013, Linwood Lambert was picked up by South Boston police after he called 911.

As seen in this video, Lambert was then taken to the hospital after police believed he needed a medical evaluation.

When Lambert, kicked out the window of the police cruiser and ran toward the hospital door, the situation changed.

Halifax County Commonwealth's Attorney Tracy Martin says the investigation did not find the officers were intentionally harming Lambert.

"That is actual exposure in such a way that could jeopardize his health was limited," Martin said.

Martin says the officers were unaware of a medical condition that was brought on by Lambert's drug use and the situation that unfolded with the officers that night.

"The footage doesn't inspire much confidence in policing when you look at it in a vacuum,” Martin said

Martin asked City of Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Herring to look at the intent of the officers, given her connection to local law enforcement

"I was sufficiently concerned and outraged that I wanted to find a way to charge,” Herring said.

Herring says he even considered charges that would not require causation but the law and what happened do not allow for any charges.

"But for purposes of an analysis of malicious wounding or unlawful wounding for either charge we would have to prove an intent to mane, disfigure, disable or kill,” Herring said.

There is still a federal investigation and a $25 million civil lawsuit pending in this case.

The lawyer for Lambert's relatives say they're now determined more than ever to make sure they go on.

Linwood Lambert's sister tells WDBJ7 the decision was unfair, one-sided and very biased in favor of the police officers.

She says her family is devastated.

Gwendolyn Smalls says she couldn't believe what she was hearing when she met with the prosecutors Monday evening.

Smalls believes the decision was biased based on the Commonwealth's Attorney's connection to local law enforcement.

And she doesn't understand the department's tasing policy

"So why have a policy if you are not going to enforce it,” Smalls said. “Why have cameras, why have dash cams. Why have cell phone recorders if they are still going to allow police officers to walk free."

Smalls says training and policies need to be addressed so this doesn't continue to happen.

Lambert's family and friends are planning to gather Wednesday on the third anniversary of his death.

They say a previously planned rally will go on as scheduled.

It will be held in front of the Halifax County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

A march will take place in South Boston beginning at noon Wednesday.