MOBILE, Ala.—The family of an Alabama man who died after police used a stun gun on him filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Dec. 11 against the city of Mobile.
The family of Jawan Dallas, 36, alleges that Mobile police used excessive force that led to his death. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Mobile, names the city and two unnamed officers as defendants. It seeks $36 million in damages.
Dallas, 36, died July 2 after he was shocked with a stun gun while police were trying to subdue him.
“He was assaulted multiple times, struck multiple times and tasered multiple times,” attorney Harry Daniels said during a Dec. 11 news conference announcing the lawsuit.
The district attorney announced in November that a grand jury cleared the officers of criminal wrongdoing and said Dallas died of underlying medical conditions that were exacerbated by drug use and the struggle with officers.
Attorneys for the family said the body camera footage, which was viewed by the family last month, shows that officers used excessive force. Family attorneys urged the police department to publicly release the video.
The lawsuit also contends that officers had no reason to try to detain Dallas and that he was under no suspicion of criminal wrongdoing at the time of the confrontation.
Officers approached Dallas after they responded to a possible burglary report at a trailer park when a 911 caller reported that a “homeless guy” was in his yard. Police approached Dallas, who was in his vehicle at another trailer, and another man who was in the yard at the home.
According to the lawsuit, an officer demanded Dallas get out of the car and produce his identification. Dallas had told the officers that they were violating his rights, and he attempted to flee on foot at some point but was tackled by an officer, the lawsuit said.
Attorneys said Dallas can be heard in the body camera video screaming, begging for help and at one point saying, “I can’t breathe. I don’t want to be George Floyd.”
The Dallas family is represented by attorneys Daniels, John Burrus, Ben Crump and Lee Merritt, who have represented families in a number of high-profile cases where Black people have died during confrontations with police.
The lawsuit accuses the city`s police chief of trying to present a “false narrative to the public” in a press conference to justify officers questioning Dallas.
The city of Mobile sent out a statement late Monday saying the chief relayed information that had been provided by the 911 caller. The city released a transcript of the 911 call reporting a possible burglary in which the caller said the person was wearing a red shirt or pants and had walked up the road to what “looked like trailer 27.” The city said Dallas was wearing red shorts and was near trailer 27 when police approached him. (AP)