NORCO (CBS) — A 27-year-old Corona man was hogtied by Sheriff’s deputies in Norco and repeatedly shot by a Taser, according to the now deceased man’s aunt.
Anthony Lawson was arrested about 1:30 a.m. in the 7400 block of Citrus Valley Avenue, his aunt, who identified herself only as Darline, told City News Service.
Family members and friends told KCAL9 and CBS2 reporter that police had “no reason” to kill their relative.
Police, meanwhile, say Lawson tried to break into a home on Citrus Valley Avenue in Eastvale just before 1 a.m. Sunday.
Valerie Williams — Lawson’s mother — said about 20 deputies surrounded her son, with at least eight restraining the 6-foot, 5-inch, 250-pound man.
“He was alive. He was screaming, ‘You’re hurting me.’ At that point he stopped talking,” Williams said.
“He was telling his mother he couldn’t breathe,” Darline added.
Williams said she smelled smoke and asked deputies if her son had been shot. They reportedly said no.
“They must have Tasered him a lot, because it smelled like gunpowder,” said Williams. She said her son was a diabetic with liver problems.
“They hurried up and got him (Lawson) out of there,” said Williams, who believes her son died at the scene.
She said paramedics rushed her son to Kaiser Permanente in Ontario, adding that authorities would not allow her to see her son’s body.
Kim spoke to several neighbors who declined to go on camera. They confirmed a police account of hearing officers telling Lawson several times “not to fight with them.”
Riverside County Sheriff’s said they were responding to a call from a resident who said a man tried to break into her home.
They said the female homeowner was able to get away from the man after he grabbed her.
Lawson lives near by. They say they saw Lawson jumped a fence.
Police said he failed to stop and he refused to comply. They say the taser had little effect because of Lawson’s size.
Kim spoke to two of Lawson’s friends who give a different account of the friend they knew.
Dewanna Gibson, choking back tears said, “I talked to his mom. She said she could smell the burns, the flesh, from where they tased him so many times. And he was hogtied. Why would you have to hogtie someone? And she called out to him, and he turned around. And the police pushed his face back into the pavement. And she heard him saying, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.'”
Tamika Newsome discounted the police version outright. “Whatever they said, it’s not true. It’s not true,” she said, “Anthony is not the type of person who would have tried to break into someone’s house. I’ve known him for years. And for his behavior? I mean, it was strange…you know what I mean. But he was never violent.”
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