The family of a 38-year-old man who died after police hit him twice with a stun gun said Thursday they want the City of Mobile to release police bodycam footage of the incident.
Mobile Police officers responded to a call of a residential burglary at a mobile home park around 9:45 p.m. Sunday when they encountered two men, Mobile Police said in a news release. As they tried to identify them, one of them, later identified as Jawan Dallas, tried to flee.
A struggle between Dallas and an officer ensued, and the officer used his Taser to try and subdue Dallas, but “it did not have any effect,” and Dallas then allegedly tried to grab the officer’s stun gun, the news release said. After a brief struggle, the officer fired the stun gun a second time. Dallas went down and medical personnel were called as Dallas experienced what police described as a “medical emergency.” He died later at the hospital.
Dallas’ mother, Christine Dallas, and her attorney, Harry Daniels, on Thursday sent a formal request for the officers’ bodycam footage in a process set forth under a new state law, AL.com reported. The law provides procedures for family members to request to see bodycam evidence or dashboard cameras.
“For him to be Tased to death,” Dallas said during a press conference. “… It’s not right. It’s unimaginable. It hurts. And I want something done about it.”
The state Supreme Court in 2021 found police are not required to release investigative records, including bodycam and dashcam footage. According to the 2023 law, family or representatives can ask to see the footage and police must respond to the request. If the request is denied, police do not have to give a reason. And the law says the family members “shall not copy or record the recording.”
Mobile NAACP President Robert Clopton said that, while he understands the law, he hopes the Mobile Police Department will release the footage.
“Why not show the video?” Clopton said. “We want to make sure that the Constitution is followed all the time, where there’s no unlawful arrest or brutality by law enforcement. Everyone has the constitutional right to live.”
“You guys supposed to be here to serve and protect, not destroy,” said Phil Williams, the victim’s father. “We need help. We gonna get justice for Jawan ‘Jay’ Dallas.”
Daniels said a witness allegedly said Dallas was about 100 yards from the scene of the burglary call. That witness said they saw police stun Dallas shortly after he left his vehicle unarmed and later saw him fall backward and call for help as he grasped at his chest, complaining of pain before officers stunned him once more. The witness recalled that’s when Dallas stopped moving, Daniels said.
Dallas described her son as “a great guy.”
“He was awesome. He helped and loved everybody, all his sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, cousins, homeless people, people in the neighborhood,” Dallas said. “Jay would give his last dime to help any and everybody. I just want justice for my son, because my son shouldn’t have left here this way. ”
Mobile police said Monday they were awaiting reports to assist in determining Dallas’ cause of death. They declined to comment on the case, citing the open investigation.