South Boston Police ask judge to remove 'murder' from 25M lawsuit against them

Published: Nov. 12, 2015 at 10:46 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2015 at 11:55 PM EST
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SOUTH BOSTON, VA (WWBT) - There are new developments into a Virginia man's death while in police custody. In federal court Thursday, attorneys for South Boston Police officers argued the word "murder" should be eliminated from a $25 million lawsuit filed against them. The lawsuit came after new video of Linwood Lambert being tasered multiple times was released on Wednesday.

Although a jury isn't expected to deliberate until next year, the Lambert family reportedly agreed Thursday to d rop the word "murder" from their lawsuit, but they're not backing down from their quest for answers.

Lambert's own sister, Gwendolyn Smalls, said she has been pleading for answers since her brother's death two years ago. A judge had to order the South Boston Police Department to release it. After seeing the video, she said she had to visit her brother's grave site.

"I talked to my brother, and I said, 'I'm sorry. I'm so sorry for what they did' to him because I didn't know," Gwendolyn Smalls said.

It all started when police showed up to a South Boston hotel for a noise complaint. They said they found Lambert in a room acting erratically and asked him to come with them.

"We're not locking you up. What we're doing here, we're going to take you to the emergency room," an officer was heard saying in the video.

Eventually, the video showed Lambert kicking out a police car window and running towards the hospital, which was when when officers tasered him.

While pleading for officers to stop, Lambert confessed to using cocaine, which was when the officers escorted him back into the patrol car and tasered him again. Instead of taking him into medical care as promised, the officers took him to jail.

"I would suggest and argue that every single time they tased him was inappropriate," said Joe Messa, the Lambert family's attorney.

"He's in handcuffs, and they tase him one time, and he's on the ground. It's over. It's done. There is no reason to subject this gentleman to further punishment, to further tasing, to put his life at risk," he continued.

Police argued their actions were appropriate considering Lambert's behavior. In addition to the $25 million she's suing for, Smalls said she would like to see jail time.

No officers have been charged in the case. According to a MSNBC report, the three officers seen in the video have since been promoted.

The South Boston Police Department has yet to release a statement.

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