CORONA (CBSLA.com) — The family of a man who died after a confrontation with deputies is suing the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department for $15 million, alleging officers were directly responsible for his death.
Valerie Williams’ 27-year-old son Anthony Lawson died a year ago this week, after Williams said her son was hogtied, beaten with a baton and stunned with a Taser by Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies.
“I try to block it out, ’cause I really don’t want to see what I seen that night,” she said. “When I turned to the right side of him he just looked at me and I knew he was gone.”
Officers reportedly tried to question Lawson about a home burglary when they say he ran, resisted commands and became combative.
Williams hired Los Angeles attorney Randy McMurray, who said deputies overreacted despite knowing Lawson personally. According to McMurray, deputies were aware that Lawson had mental and physical health issues.
“His response was that of a person with a mental illness, not of a fleeing felon,” he said.
Though Lawson did serve time in prison for theft, his mother said he was a good person who was not burglarizing homes the night he died. He was unarmed, according to his family.
Toxicology reports showed Lawson had traces of marijuana in his system, but McMurray argues the drug could have been present for weeks.
The coroner’s report lists the manner of death as “homicide.”
A spokesperson for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department declined to comment on pending cases.