Cops, Lies and Videotape: The Tasing Torture and Murder of Linwood Lambert

December 21, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Linwood Lambert
Linwood Lambert

In May 2013, Linwood Lambert, a 46-year-old Black man, died after being repeatedly tased by the police in South Boston, Virginia. The police took Lambert into custody after noise complaints from others at a motel where he was staying. Lambert was clearly in distress of some sort and needed urgent medical help. The cops told Lambert he was not under arrest and were taking him to a hospital—but they still put him in handcuffs. At the hospital, apparently in panic, Lambert kicked out a window in the police car and ran toward the emergency room door. In front of the door, three cops tased Lambert repeatedly—and again after they forced him back into the police car, where he also had his feet shackled. In less than 30 minutes, the cops fired off their tasers 20 times—each delivering 50,000 volts of electricity. Despite the police department’s own rules that someone who is tased is supposed to receive medical attention immediately, the cops drove off to the police station instead of bringing Lambert into the hospital. After about an hour the cops brought back Lambert, unconscious, to the same hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Two and a half years later, the prosecutor in charge of the case has not brought any charges against the three cops who carried out the sadistic torture by taser that led to Lambert’s death. These pigs have not even been disciplined—in fact, they have all been promoted within the department. The police have claimed that the tasing of Lambert was justified because he posed a “danger” to others. The official autopsy ruled the cause of death as “acute cocaine intoxication.” The family of Linwood Lambert is fighting for justice, including through a wrongful death suit. His sister, Gwendolyn Smalls, said bitterly, “They used so much force with a man who was already restrained. What other answer would they come up with, other than to say it’s justified?”

Dashcam and squad car video of police taser attack on Linwood Lambert

Released by MSNBC

In November, MSNBC cable news released the video of the deadly police tasing of Linwood Lambert, which the authorities had withheld from the public, as well as a report from the Virginia State Police investigators written shortly after Lambert was killed. The video and the report shed light on the lies of the police and the brutal reality of what happened to Linwood Lambert.

What the cops claimed: According to the state police report, Cpl. Tiffany Bratton, the cop who fired off 15 of the 20 taser shots, said that Lambert had “grabbed the end of the Taser and was pulling it” and that this “probably happened several times.” Bratton also claimed that the repeated tasings were necessary because Lambert kept getting back up. According to the state police report, Bratton said that after the taster was first used on Lambert at the hospital doorway, he “got back up” after about “five seconds.” Then after a second tasing, according to Bratton, “Lambert hit the ground then right back up”...and she said the same thing happened after the following taser firings. Another cop at the scene also claimed to investigators that Lambert “jumped up” after he was tased.

What the video shows: The video shows clearly that at no time did Lambert grab a police taser or even attempt to do so. In fact, the video shows he had his hands cuffed behind his back throughout the course of this horror. The video also exposes the cops’ lie that Lambert kept trying to get back up after each tasing. As MNSBC notes, “Instead, the video shows his body went stiff and dropped after the first tasing in the hospital doorway. Then he mostly rolls around on the ground, according to the video, and asks the officers to stop. While he is on the ground, they also shackle his legs.” At one point, when Lambert doesn’t get on his stomach fast enough to the satisfaction of his tormentors, Bratton yells at him, “I’m going to light you up again—roll over, roll over, turn over!” And in the video, after Lambert is dragged back into the police car, one of the cops says, “Sit up or I’m going to tase you again”—and Lambert is hit with more taser shots.

What the people demand: Indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!



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