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Excessive force claims survive in case of unarmed Black man killed by Las Vegas cops

Courthouse News Service
May 7, 2024

(CN) — The bulk of wrongful death claims against Las Vegas police officers accused of killing a 50-year old Black bicyclist during an arrest five years ago will continue on after a federal judge ruled Tuesday that they may have used excessive force in the arrest and are not shielded by qualified immunity.

In 2021, the family of Byron Williams sued the city of Las Vegas, Clark County, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the four officers who interacted with Williams the early morning of Sept. 19, 2019, when they stopped him for purportedly not having his bike lights on.

During the subsequent pursuit and arrest, the family says two Las Vegas police officers, Patrick Campbell and Benjamin Vasquez, put their weight on Williams while handcuffing him and kneeled there even though Williams told them he couldn’t breathe. The plaintiffs also say officers at the scene did not summon a medic despite Williams’ complaints that he couldn’t breathe, and body camera footage showed some officers joking while Williams was being restrained.

Read more of Michael Gennaro's coverage of the case and the decision about summary judgment for Courthouse News Service.

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