Ben Crump wants officers involved in deadly traffic stop fired, charged

Crump said the circumstances surrounding Darryl Tyree Williams' death in Raleigh constituted a willful disregard for human life, which is the definition of manslaughter.

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Ben Crump wants the six police officers involved in a traffic stop tasing that killed a Black man in North Carolina’s capital city terminated and facing criminal charges.

The prominent civil rights attorney has demanded that Raleigh officers D.L. Aquino, D.L. Grande, B.L. Ramge, C.D. Robinson, J.R. Scott and J.T. Thomas — who all are currently on administrative leave — be fired and charged with manslaughter following last month’s death of 32-year-old Darryl Tyree Williams, according to The Hill.

Together with Williams’ family and the Raleigh-based police accountability group Emancipate NC, Crump appeared at a press conference Thursday at a church located a short distance from where the incident happened, The Raleigh News & Observer reported.

Darryl "Tyree" Williams
Darryl Tyree Williams (above), died last month in police custody, and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, representing Williams’ family, says the Raleigh Police Department officers involved in the tasing that preceded his death should be fired. (Photo: Screenshot/ News)

“I am recalling what Martin Luther King said about what true peace is,” Crump told those gathered at Mount Peace Baptist Church, according to The News & Observer. “It is not the absence of tension, but it is the presence of justice.”

Williams died at a hospital on Jan. 17 after being tased three times — twice through direct body contact — and handcuffed by the officers, according to The Hill.

“How can we have peace in North Carolina until we have justice for Darryl Tyree Williams?” Crump said Thursday, The Hill reported. “We come here to disturb the peace and the fact that we don’t want everybody to sleep comfortably, saying we can just kill Black people unnecessarily and that’s justifiable.” 

Williams reportedly was sitting in his car with a passenger at 1:55 a.m. when authorities approached him to conduct a search, which Crump claimed violated Williams’ Fourth Amendment rights. He also accused police of over-policing southeast Raleigh.

According to The Hill, officers Thomas and Robinson were the first to advance toward Williams and his passenger, as seen in body camera and dash camera footage, and on area surveillance tape. Police questioned the two before telling them to exit the car.

There was a struggle as officers tried to place Williams under arrest, and they deployed a stun gun soon after. The initial shock made Williams fall to the ground. 

Williams questioned why the officers were “doing this” to him right before they threatened to stun him again if he didn’t put his hands behind his back. They used the stun gun again, to which Williams replied, “I have heart problems.” He could be heard moaning in the footage as he lay on the ground.

Williams’ cause of death and whether the taser shocks administered by the officers contributed to it are still under investigation, The News & Observer reported.

According to The Hill, Crump said the circumstances surrounding Williams’ death constituted a willful disregard for human life, which is the definition of manslaughter. He compared Williams’ run-in with police to that of Tyre Nichols, 29, a Black man who was beaten by Black officers in Memphis, Tennessee, on Jan. 7, and died three days later.

Crump, who is representing Nichols’ and Williams’ grieving families, previously acted for the family of George Floyd, the Black man murdered by Minneapolis police officers in 2020.

“Why don’t the police believe us?” he wondered aloud Thursday in Raleigh.

“When George Floyd said that ‘I couldn’t breathe,’ they didn’t believe him,” Crump noted, according to The Hill. “When Eric Gardner in Staten Island, New York, said ‘I can’t breathe,’ they didn’t believe him. And they didn’t believe Darryl Tyree when he said, ‘I got heart problems,’ because if they would have believed, they would have stopped.”

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