Virginia’s attorney general lacks the authority to take over the investigation into Linwood Lambert Jr.’s death, his spokeswoman said, according to the Associated Press.
MSNBC was first to obtain a video that shows South Boston, Va., police officers shooting a handcuffed Lambert, 46, multiple times with Tasers.
The incident happened in 2013, and black leaders across Virginia are frustrated that Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Quackenbush Martin still has not decided whether to charge the police officers for Lambert’s death.
On Friday the black leaders urged Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring to take over the case. According to AP, the attorney general’s spokesman, Michael Kelly, said that local prosecutors usually have the exclusive responsibility of investigating crimes committed in their location. He said that Herring contacted NAACP leaders to hear their concerns.
Kelly added that the video is “very troubling,” and the case should have a “thorough, deliberate investigation and a prompt and just resolution,” AP reports.
Lambert’s family filed a $25 million federal lawsuit against the Police Department. In a recent development, the lawyers representing the police officers reportedly asked the judge to strike the word “murder” from the lawsuit, and Lambert’s family agreed. A jury is expected to decide the civil case next year.
According to MSNBC, Lambert admitted to using cocaine on the night of May 4, 2013, when the police picked him up for his erratic behavior and were transporting him to a hospital emergency room. Upon his arrival at the hospital, the video shows Lambert kicking out a window of the squad car from the back seat and running toward the ER—still in handcuffs.
At that point, the officers arrested him. The police officers discharged their Tasers several times into Lambert and then decided to take him to the police station instead of the emergency room.
The autopsy lists the cause of death as “acute cocaine intoxication.” But he had a relatively low amount (less than 0.01 milligrams/liter) of the drug in his blood, which MSNBC, quoting an expert, says could still account for the overdose.
The autopsy also noted three Taser wounds. But the medical examiner determined the cause of death without knowing that the officers had discharged their Tasers 20 times over a 30-minute period, the family’s lawyer said, according to MSNBC.