Two years ago, three police officers discovered Lambert in a Virginia motel, where he was behaving delusionally, most likely due to the fact that he’d been using cocaine. They handcuffed him and put him in a squad car, apparently intending to bring him to a hospital to receive medical care. But Lambert never made it inside the hospital — or, at least, he never made it inside alive.
Video obtained by MSNBC’s Ari Melber shows Lambert kicking out the police car’s window and then running from the car to the emergency room door. The officers chase him to the hospital entrance, where they begin discharging their stun guns on him. At one point, while Lambert is lying on the ground, an officer is overheard telling him “every time you get up, I’m going to pop you.” Then they shackle Lambert’s legs, and lead him back into the police car, where they tase him again. While he is in the car, an officer tells the bound man that he will be tased another time unless he sits up.
In total, Melber reports, three officers discharged they tasers 20 times in about a half-an-hour of their encounter with Lambert.
After police shackled Lambert at the hospital door they arrested him and drove to the jail. By the time they arrived, however, Lambert was unconscious. The officers checked his pulse, attempted CPR and called for an ambulance, which took him back to the same hospital where he was tased. By the time he made it inside the hospital, his heart rate had already flatlined.
Lambert’s official autopsy show that the cause of death was “cocaine intoxication,” although the same autopsy shows that he had “less than 0.01 mg/L” of the drug in his blood, a low (if not impossible) level for an overdose. All three of the officers involved in this incident have since been promoted.
Lambert’s sister, Gwendolyn Smalls, has filed a $25 million suit against the police. The video became public after a court order required police to provide it to Smalls.