Family of VA man who died in police custody takes fight to State Capitol

Family of VA man who died in police custody takes fight to State Capitol
A settlement was reached with Linwood Lambert's sister last week.

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The family of a Virginia man who died while in police custody is taking their fight for justice to the State Capitol.

Three years ago, Linwood Lambert died after he was tased multiple times in South Boston. The officers involved were never charged and the Halifax Commonwealth's Attorney says Lambert died from the cocaine in his system.

"The hardest part is the struggle to get justice for my brother," says Gwendolyn Smalls, Lambert's sister, who now hopes justice will come from state leaders.

The family feels like they have been let down at the local level and wants the governor or the Attorney General's office to look at the case.

"At this point, I believe he can have somebody come in (and) review the findings and maybe have someone scrutinize it a little bit more," says Smalls.

Three years ago, Lambert was arrested in South Boston.  He was handcuffed but after kicking out a window and trying to get away, Lambert was tased 20 times but only three of those delivered electrically and the rest were on stun. Lambert died and the South Boston officers involved were never charged.

According to the Halifax Commonwealth's attorney there was no criminal intent, and the medical examiner says Lambert died from "acute cocaine intoxication."

Richmond's Commonwealth's Attorney even took a look at the case and came to the same conclusion.

But Linwood's family says they disagree with how the investigation was handled.  They say the prosecutor had too many personal ties to the police department.

"We're simply asking the governor, the Attorney General and the legislature to pass a law that anytime a citizen is killed while he or she is in custody of a police officer, that it will be independently investigated," says Jack Gravely, executive director for the Virginia NAACP.  "Very simple."

Meanwhile the family says the FBI is taking a look at the case and the family has also filed a civil suit against South Boston Police alleging excessive force, wrongful death and denial of medical care.

The family says they should know the results of the federal investigation along with the civil case some time this year.


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