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Knoxville police release videos from arrest, transport of woman who died in custody

Video recordings released by the Knoxville Police Department on Feb. 23 show a 60-year-old woman collapsed during her arrest and later died in custody. Investigators are investigating how officers dealt with the incident.

The arrest of Lisa Edwards, 60, took place outside Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, where she had been seen earlier. Edwards refused to leave the hospital property after she was discharged, and a police video compilation shows how she was arrested and what happened after she fell unconscious.

The compilation includes bodycam footage from the initial interaction between Edwards and officers, bodycam footage of officers taking her into custody, and in-car surveillance footage from the moment she was placed into the back of a cruiser.

When Edwards told an officer she could not walk due to a stroke, he replied the hospital wanted her to leave and told her she would go to jail and be charged with trespassing if she did not leave.

The officers struggled for 30 minutes to get Edwards up and into the side compartment of a jail transport van while repeatedly calling her dead weight and complaining that she refused to stand.

The officers frequently screamed at Edwards during their interaction.

Despite Edwards' repeated complaints about being unable to breathe or stand, officers and staff insisted that she was fine because she was medically discharged.

Officers discussed placing her in the back compartment of the transport van, but the driver said he couldn't afford the liability in case she died.

After officers failed to place Edwards in a fully upright position, she is seen having difficulty breathing and slumping over. Several times, the officer asks her how she is doing, but within 10 minutes, she is silent and no longer visible.

The Knox County District Attorney's Office announced earlier this week that Edwards died of a stroke and that no charges will be filed against the officers who arrested her.

According to Charme Allen's office, a medical examiner's report stated: "at no time did law enforcement interaction cause or contributed to Ms. Edwards' death."

The manner in which Knoxville PD neglected and abused Lisa Edwards after she suffered a stroke is morally reprehensible. Their actions are a representation of how law enforcement prioritizes punitive action instead of helping those in need, and the officers involved in her mistreatment should be held responsible for her unnecessary death. #AbolitionNow

Source: Knox News


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