Darryl Williams was not fighting or actively resisting Raleigh police officers when they placed two tasers on his body and pulled the triggers, body camera footage released by the Raleigh Police Department on Friday shows.
The edited video, about 13 minutes long, includes tragic details that were left out of the department’s five-day report, including Williams appearing to be subdued by officers when the most severe tasering took place.
Williams and an unidentified man were first approached by two Raleigh police officers at around 2 a.m. on January 17. The officers were conducting a “proactive patrol” in Southeast Raleigh, a policy that has been criticized by activists as disproportionately targeting Black people.
Williams and the man were sitting in a car parked in front of a Supreme Sweepstakes on Rock Quarry Road when they were approached by officers C.D. Robinson and J.T. Thomas. The two had already directed their flashlights at one other car in the parking lot, exchanging a few brief words with the passengers (and soon-to-be witnesses) before moving on.
As the car doors opened, an open container of alcohol is in clear view of the camera, held by the unidentified man. Robinson and Thomas ordered both Williams and the man out of the car, and Robinson proceeded to search Williams.
“We’re not doing nothing,” Williams says. After being ordered to face the car by Robinson, he complies, saying “OK,” although Robinson repeatedly reminds him to keep both hands on the car as he completes the search.
After finding a folded dollar bill with what the RPD characterizes as a “white, powdery substance” (which appears on the camera, albeit faintly), Robinson begins to arrest Williams.
“Why? Why?” Williams is heard saying. “What’s going on?”
At this point, events start to spiral out of control. Williams begins to struggle with Robinson and other officers who attempt to pin him down, eventually ending up in a corner of the parking lot.
“Get on the ground,” one officer says. “Stop or you’ll be tased,” another warns.
Only one or two seconds later, Robinson follows through on that threat, tasing Williams. Officers surround Williams near some trash bins, but he continues to struggle against them, eventually breaking free and running away.
Following him, officers again shout at him to get on the ground, one saying “Get on the f***ing ground now.” Williams makes it only a few yards before tripping and falling. The six officers involved, including officers D.L. Aquino, J.R. Scott, D.L. Grande, and B.L. Ramge, surround Williams as he rises to his knees.
“I’m gonna tase you again,” Robinson says, oddly calm.
“But it’s him. It’s him,” Williams repeats over and over again, almost incomprehensible. “Go get him.”
He is apparently telling officers that the unidentified man who was in the car with him is really the one they want. The man fled when Williams began struggling with Robinson.
Officers continue to tell Williams to put his hands behind his back or “you’re gonna get tased again.”
Officer Thomas is the one to pull the trigger, placing his taser in contact with Williams’ side in what is called “drive stun” mode. The buzz of the taser goes off, and Williams lets out a short yell of pain before falling to the ground.
At this point, Williams is laying facedown on the asphalt, keeping his head and shoulders off the ground with his arms folded in front of him. Two officers appear to have hands and knees on his back, keeping him down.
“It’s him. It’s him,” Williams continues to protest. “Yo, come get him.”
A short moment of silence falls with no one moving. Williams’ heavy breaths fill the air. He doesn’t appear to be trying to get up. Officers again order Williams to put his hands behind his back. When they get no response, they threaten to tase him again.
“Put your hands behind your back bro,” says one officer. “Right now, or you’re gonna get tased again,” another adds.
Robinson places his taser directly on Williams’ back.
“I got heart problems, please,” Williams says. “Please.”
“Three, two, one,” Robinson quickly counts off, before tasing him for a third time, again in drive stun mode. Robinson holds the taser against Williams for about six seconds as the man screams in pain.
Officers finally handcuff Williams, who appears to pass out, moaning and mumbling incoherently. They put him in the recovery position, telling him to “relax.” About two minutes after the tasing, an officer calls EMS, saying he’s a “35-year-old Black male, conscious and breathing” with “some facial injuries.”
As the minutes tick by, officers continually check Williams’ pulse and breathing. There’s a little conversation, mostly about Williams’ condition and some about the unidentified man who fled.
“Is he still good?” one officer asks.
“After our fight with him, he passed out,” another says, some minutes later.
“Shallow breathing,” an officer notes.
“Is there a better position for his head?” one asks.
When an officer again checks Williams’ pulse, about five minutes after he was tased for the final time, there’s nothing.
“I don’t think I feel a pulse. Might have to start CPR,” the officer says. “Let’s do CPR.”
An officer starts chest compressions, with another counting the seconds. They put in another call to EMS, advising they’ve started CPR.
About two minutes later, firefighters arrive and take over. Forty or fifty seconds later, the video ends. Williams appears to be dead.
See the PDF below for additional footage released by Raleigh PD.
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