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'That's not humanity': Ben Crump calls for Raleigh officers to be charged in Darryl Williams' death

Prominent attorney Ben Crump and the family of Darryl Williams called for the Raleigh police officers involved in Williams' death to be fired and charged on Thursday.

Posted Updated

By
Chelsea Donovan
, WRAL reporter
RALEIGH, N.C. — Prominent attorney Ben Crump and the family of Darryl Williams called for the Raleigh police officers involved in Williams' death to be fired and charged on Thursday. He said he wants the officers involved to be charged with manslaughter due to their reckless regard for human life and safety.

"When Williams said 'I have heart problems,' you would not think that a person would tase him again and again," Crump said. 'That's not humanity, that's torture."

In January, Williams' family first made a list of demands for the police department days after his death summoned controversy in the community.
Last week, police released body cam footage of Williams' arrest.

Raleigh police officers were patrolling the businesses in a shopping center on Rock Quarry Road on Jan. 17 when they saw Williams sitting in a car outside a sweepstakes parlor. They suspected he had alcohol and marijuana in the car and asked to search it. Inside Williams' car, officers found drugs and two guns, one of which had been reported stolen.

Crump said Williams should have never been approached by police. "We don’t see them going into white neighborhoods for proactive policing," he said.

Flowers placed in honor of Darryl Williams

When officers tried to arrest Williams, he "became combative and resistant," according to the police report on the incident.

Officer C.D. Robinson used his Taser on Williams, who fell to the ground. After the first stun, Williams can be heard on camera saying, “I have heart problems.” Williams was able to get up and run a short distance across the parking lot, the report says.

Crump believes Williams was targeted due to the color of his skin and that a Taser should never have been deployed simply because Williams resisted and ran.

Williams fell to the ground, where officers struggled with him, attempting to handcuff him. While Williams fought, officers used the Taser twice more in in stun mode, according to the report. The officers used the Taser on Williams' side and on his back. No shots were fired. Williams later died in custody.

Rick Armstrong, part of the local police union representing two of the officers believes they acted appropriately.

"Tasers can be used any time an individual is resisting arrest or attempting to assault a police officer," he said.

Crump asked, "How can we have peace in Raleigh, North Carolina, until we get peace for Darryl Tyree Williams?

"We come here to disturb the peace in the fact that we don't want everybody to sleep comfortable saying we can just kill Black people unjustifiably," Crump said. "Mrs. Williams hasn't had a peaceful night since her son was electrocuted."

Crump drew parallels between Williams' death and the death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis as police handling of arrests has received increased scrutiny from the public in recent weeks and even years, dating back to the death of George Floyd in 2020.

Kerwin Pittman and Dawn Blagrove with Emancipate NC and Rev. Greg Drumwright also spoke about perceived injustices in the nature of Williams' death.

"I think it's irresponsible for them to make that kind of claim before the investigation is complete," Armstrong told WRAL News.

In response to Crump's comments, a Raleigh Police Department spokesman issued this statement:

We are aware of the news conference by Emancipate NC and the Ben Crump Law firm.

However, the Raleigh Police Department does not comment on any ongoing investigations.

The five-day report has indicated that all investigations are ongoing, will be thorough, and will follow the available facts and evidence wherever they lead. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) is conducting an independent criminal investigation and will present its findings directly to the Wake County District Attorney for review.

The Detective Division of the Raleigh Police Department is conducting a separate investigation into the actions of Mr. Williams. Additionally, the Internal Affairs Unit of the Raleigh Police Department is conducting an administrative investigation into the actions of the officers who were involved in the arrest. When complete, the administrative investigation will be reviewed by the RPD command staff.

In the spirit of transparency, the Raleigh Police Department has released information concerning the death of Darryl Tyree Williams: a Five-Day Report and an Addendum to the Five-Day report, which have been submitted to the City Manager by the Police Chief.

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