RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Raleigh man who was in police custody at the time of his death died of sudden cardiac arrest, according to an autopsy released by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The manner of death was listed as homicide.
The report said 32-year-old Darryl Tyree Williams’ cause of death was sudden cardiac arrest in the setting of cocaine intoxication, physical exertion, conducted energy weapon use, and physical restraint. Williams could be heard on police body cameras telling officers he had heart problems as he was being physically restrained.
At the time of his death, Williams had cocaine, a substance similar to Benadryl and alcohol in his system, his autopsy showed.
Earlier this year, Raleigh Police Department’s preliminary investigative report said Williams died in their custody after officers fired stun guns at him twice on Jan. 17.
Body camera, dash camera and business surveillance video showed officers patrolling businesses along Rock Quarry Road. Police body cameras showed police approach another car before moving on to Williams’ vehicle. When the passenger opens their door, he is holding what appears to be open container. A preliminary report from police noted officers saw an open container of alcohol and marijuana.
Officers are then heard asking them both to step out of the car. An officer checking Williams’ pocket sees a folded-up dollar bill containing what they believed to be cocaine. The officer then attempts to take Williams into custody.
Police body cameras showed Williams begin to pull away and struggle. Footage showed Williams was hit with taser prongs as he was running away. After another struggle with several officers, surveillance from a business captures him taking off again, then falling face first.
Surveillance video captures Williams losing his footing and falling onto the parking lot concrete. Officers attempt to get him into cuffs again. While Williams’ hands are under his chest, police body cam shows Williams getting tasered—this time directly to the body.
Williams can be heard saying, “I got heart problems. Bro, please.”
The video showed officers continue to struggle to get Williams into the handcuffs before using a stun gun on his body again. He becomes unconscious shortly after.
The medical examiner listed obesity and hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease as contributors to Williams’ death.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Darryl Williams’ family alongside Emancipate NC, and attorney Kenneth Abbarno released the following statement in response to the autopsy information.
“The findings from this autopsy serve as a chilling confirmation of what we have known to be true since we first viewed the video footage: Darryl’s death was a direct result of excessive and unreasonable police force. Despite officers knowing of his heart condition, they deployed a taser against him numerous times, showing a shocking disregard for his life. We will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of truth, justice, and accountability, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that those responsible for this senseless loss of life are held accountable and that meaningful changes are implemented to prevent a tragedy like this from occurring in the future.”