Society

Video Contradicts Police Report Of Black Man Who Died In Jail For Saggy Pants

| by Michael Allen
Screen Capture.Screen Capture.

Ervin Edwards was dragged by police officers and deputies into a jail in West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, on Nov. 26, 2013.

Law enforcement originally questioned Edwards about his saggy pants in Port Allen, Louisiana, which banned the clothing in 2007, reported Syracuse.com.

An edited version of a newly released surveillance video (below) from the West Baton Rouge Parish Jail shows Edwards, 38, struggling with officers, one of whom uses a stun gun on him.

Edwards then stops moving while he's on his stomach. The officers left the motionless man in the cell, returned to check on him about 10 minutes later and found him still not moving, noted The Advocate.

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Edwards' cause of death, according to an autopsy report, was, "Acute cocaine and phencyclidine (PCP) intoxication in association with restraint by law enforcement."

West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Col. Richie Johnson claimed an internal review didn't show any crime committed by any of the officers. That review was turned over to federal investigators, but the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Louisiana’s Middle District refused to say if they are investigating the incident, reports The Advocate.

Viney Edwards, Edwards mother, told The Advocate, "The drugs didn’t kill him. The police killed him.”

A wrongful death lawsuit, filed by Edwards' son, claims West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s deputies and a Port Allen police officer responded to a call about a “minor argument" between Edwards and his girlfriend, Tori Paddio, at a Port Allen gas station.

The lawsuit claims that when law enforcement arrived, the squabble was over.

The lawsuit adds that law enforcement began to ask Edwards about his baggy pants, and that Paddio told deputies not to tase Edwards because he had high blood pressure.

Paddio told WAFB in 2013 that Edwards didn't believe he had broken any laws, so he resisted being arrested. She added:

"It took like six of them to actually get him down and when they had him down they pulled out a taser and the mace and I said, '"You can't tase him; he has high blood pressure and a lot of medical conditions. You can't do that!' So they put it back. They didn't do it."

West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Mike Cazes told WAFB that Edwards continued to resist officers and deputies in the jail after his handcuffs were removed, so law enforcement told Edwards they would use a stun gun if he didn't cooperate.

Port Allen Police Officer Dustin McMullan reportedly used a Taser on Edwards in the jail cell.

The Advocate reports that, in the video, Officer McMullan appeared to keep his stun gun pressed against Edwards’ buttocks for "nearly a minute and a half."

McMullan wrote in his police report:

"I then pulled the trigger on the Taser using the full five second circle on Edwards. However, the Taser did not appear to have any effect on Edwards. Due to the obvious lack of effect of the Taser, I then re-holstered it. I then again assisted in restraining Edwards using empty hand control techniques.

Officer McMullan also claimed that a deputy checked on Edwards after the stun gun incident and saw Edwards breathing and moving his arms, but Edwards doesn't appear to move in the video.

Sources: The Advocate, WAFB, Syracuse.com
Image Credit: West Baton Rouge Parish Jail Screenshot