Report: Man in Smithfield police custody did not die from Taser
Posted January 23, 2015
Smithfield, N.C. — A Taser deployed by Smithfield police officers to subdue a man in custody last year did not contribute to his death and was a justified use of force, according to a report released Friday by the Johnston County District Attorney’s Office.
An autopsy determined that Rondrickquiz Williams died from cocaine toxicity and had an underlying heart condition that may have contributed to his death, which happened Aug. 5 while he was hospitalized.
Officers responded July 23 to an emergency call about a man at McDonald’s who was exposing himself and assaulting patrons. They arrived to find Williams holding a cane and acting erratically, according to a report from District Attorney Susan Doyle.
Authorities said Williams grabbed a female bystander and tried to use her as a shield before leaving her and running across the restaurant. He allegedly threw down an elderly man, then turned toward an officer.
Doyle said a physical struggle took place, and other officers arrived to help. Williams was stunned with a Taser “numerous times with little to no effect,” she said. Officers eventually put Williams in handcuffs and a leg restraint.
While being treated by emergency workers, Williams became unconscious despite normal blood pressure readings, according to the report. He was taken to a Johnston Health medical center, where a test showed he had cocaine and opiates in his system. While at the center, he stopped breathing and had to be intubated. He was then transferred to WakeMed in Raleigh.
Doyle said Williams died nearly two weeks later after suffering from renal failure, seizures and rhabdomyolysis, a degenerative condition that can lead to renal failure.
“Under the circumstances observed by the Smithfield police officers who responded to this disturbance, their use of force was justified, reasonable and warranted,” Doyle said. “As a result, no criminal charges will be filed related to this incident.”