Stanley Wilson Jr. died in LA custody due to excessive use of force, family says

Stanley Wilson Jr. died in LA custody due to excessive use of force, family says

  • US News
  • March 16, 2023
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The family of former NFL player Stanley Wilson Jr., who died in custody last month in Los Angeles County following a recent arrest, said the 40-year-old’s death was the result of “excessive force” and “willful indifference.”

His parents said they found Wilson’s body with “ligature marks” on his wrists and “fresh wounds” on his head that “appear to have been caused by a shoe,” according to a lawsuit filed this week seeking $45 million in damages District. Wilson’s father is Stanley Wilson Sr., a former NFL running back.

An official cause of death was not released, but the parents said the county “grossly misrepresented the cause and circumstances” of their son’s death, according to the allegation.

“The district has failed to implement and maintain proper procedures for hiring individuals with intellectual disabilities, including Stanley Wilson Jr.,” the allegation reads.

According to the allegation, Wilson had recently been found unfit to stand trial following an arrest for trespassing in August 2022. Wilson has struggled with mental health issues and drug use for some time, said John Carpenter, the family attorney.

Wilson “suffered many, many traumatic head injuries” and in recent years has displayed the symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disorder that researchers have found to be extremely common in former NFL football players, Carpenter said. Wilson was previously arrested in Portland, Oregon after attempting to break into a mansion in the nude.

“This is how we treat our mental patients, we lock them up or let them live on the streets without support,” said Carpenter, describing Wilson’s story as particularly tragic. “He had all the hopes in the world and ended up like this.”

In 2014, Wilson graduated from Stanford, where he played football from 2001 to 2004. The cornerback was drafted in the third round by the Detroit Lions in 2005. His professional football career ended three years later after tearing his Achilles tendon.

Some news outlets reported that Wilson died last month, citing law enforcement sources as saying he collapsed while being transferred from the borough’s Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles to the Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, which cares for people who have been declared unfit to stand trial.

But Carpenter said the night before Wilson’s death a nurse performed a medical exam and found no problems. Carpenter said the family plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit “to find out the truth about what actually happened.”

“It just doesn’t make sense that he’d be dead by morning,” Carpenter said.

LA County spokesman Jesus Ruiz declined to comment on the case, citing the pending litigation.

“LA County extends its sincere condolences to Mr. Wilson’s family,” Ruiz said in a statement. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office did not immediately respond to questions about the case’s status of Wilson’s autopsy.

The county has 45 days to respond to the family’s claim – filed on behalf of Wilson’s father; mother, Pulane Lucas; and his estate – at which point the family can file the suit.

Carpenter said Wilson’s parents contacted him about a lawsuit after they found their son’s body in “a different condition than expected.”

“It’s easy to marginalize people and write off people with mental illness,” he said. “They are being treated with indifference and we believe that played a role in Stanley’s death.”

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