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Raleigh police release video of stun gun used before man dies

Darryl Tyree Williams, 32, died at a hospital after being confronted and handcuffed by officers Jan. 17 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Posted at 9:06 AM, Feb 13, 2023

Police in North Carolina's capital city released body and dashboard camera footage Friday that shows the arrest of a Black man who died after officers repeatedly used stun guns on him.

Darryl Tyree Williams, 32, died at a hospital after being confronted and handcuffed by officers in a southeast Raleigh neighborhood about 2 a.m. on Jan. 17, according to a report by Police Chief Estella Patterson released days later.

The footage authorized to be released by a state judge this week shows officers approaching and searching Williams near a parked car. Police have said officers had been conducting proactive patrols of nearby businesses.

A man can be heard on several of the body-worn camera recordings saying "I'm not doing anything."

Williams' family had no comment Friday on the release of the footage, according to Dawn Blagrove with Emancipate NC, a criminal justice reform group that has been in contact with the family. Family members viewed the footage on Thursday, a city spokesperson said.

The footage from one body camera shows officers directing him multiple times to place his hands either up or behind his back. A struggle ensues, and someone can be heard threatening to fire a Taser unless he stops. The police report says a Taser was deployed, temporarily stopping Williams and causing him to fall. The video shows officers on the ground with Williams near a trash can.

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The police report said Williams then broke away from the officers. The video shows him stopped moments later in the parking lot, with officers telling Williams to get on the ground and trying again to arrest him.

"Why are you all doing this to me?" he asks.

"Hands behind your back or you're going to get Tased again," an officer said about 20 seconds later, following other orders by his colleagues.

The footage confirms the report's statement that Williams can then be heard saying "I have heart problems" after he was stunned again and before officers said another one would be coming if he didn't cooperate. Police have said Williams was stunned three times, twice through direct body contact with the Taser.

Once Williams appears to be detained, someone says, "Relax man, relax. Chill out." Seconds later, officers become worried about whether he still had a pulse, but they turn him over and say he's breathing.

One of the videos begins with Williams already on the ground and officers kneeling over him. He can be heard moaning.

Williams became unresponsive and stopped breathing after he was handcuffed, according to the written account. The footage shows police doing chest compressions to try to resuscitate him. Emergency services arrived, and Williams was pronounced dead at a hospital about 3 a.m. The cause of his death is under investigation.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Friday that an autopsy has been performed on Williams but that a final report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has not yet been provided.

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The report said officers initially 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 tried 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.

In one of the videos, an officer approaches the car from the passenger side, the door opens and the officer asks "Hey what's up? How's it going? What are y'all doing?"

A man inside explains that he's walking to his house. The officer responds, "OK, just do me a favor. Come over here. Have a seat, both of you." As the men in the car repeatedly ask "Why? and "For what?" the officer just repeats "Have a seat," six times.

A search of Williams' car also found two firearms, one of which had been reported stolen, the report states. A passenger in the car left the scene on foot, the report adds.

Six officers involved in the arrest are on administrative leave, and the State Bureau of Investigation is conducting a probe. The police department sought a judge's permission to release the body camera and dash camera video from patrol cars.

Emancipate NC and other advocacy groups this week presented a list of demands to the Raleigh City Council. They include firing the officers involved in the arrest, retooling the city's police advisory board and discontinuing for now the use of Tasers.

"How many times do we have to watch public executions before policing will be held accountable?" Blagrove said. "Emancipate NC stands behind the demands presented to Raleigh City Council and expect to see officers held accountable for Darryl Williams' death."

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.