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A Maryland family demands justice for their 19-year-old, unarmed son who was killed in September while in police custody. Anton Black’s parents allege that the police used excessive force in what his father described as a “lynching” minus a rope.

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They’re seeking a federal investigation and help from Gov. Larry Hogan after the county prosecutor declined in January to file criminal charges against the white officer involved in Black’s arrest, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

On Sept. 15, 2018, Greensboro officer Thomas Webster, who had dozens of citizen complaints before joining the department, confronted Black in response to a 911 call from a woman who said she saw Black dragging a 12-year-old boy down the street. Black’s family said the boy was a friend and wasn’t in danger.

Police body camera video showed Black running away when the police confronted him. Black locked himself inside a car parked outside his family’s home. Webster used a baton to break the driver-side window and shot him with a Taser. Black struggled with the officer before he was finally handcuffed. He became unresponsive and was later pronounced dead in a hospital.

The family waited for months for the autopsy report, which was released two days after the governor complained about the slow pace of the investigation.

Black’s family suspects a coverup, WBAL-TV reported.

“They lynched my son. They lynched him. They didn’t do it with a rope, they did it with their arms. No reason for that. He was 150 pounds and they killed him,” said Black’s father, Antone Black, after seeing the autopsy report.

The medical examiner cleared the officer of wrongdoing, concluded that Black had a congenital heart condition and bipolar disorder that contributed to his death.

“He had committed no crime. There was no reason to Tase him, tackle him, restrain him and shackle him. There was no reason to inflict 43 blunt trauma wounds. There was no reason for Anton Black to die,” said his mother, Jennell Black, who witnessed the arrest.

The list of Black families demanding a proper investigation after a police Taser killing continues to grow. In October, questions remained unanswered in the case of a Nigerian-American man who was killed by sheriff’s deputies in San Mateo County, California in October. The family of Chinedu Valentine Okobi criticized the cops for using excessive force in the Oct. 3 arrest of the man who they said suffered from mental illness.

In another case, Adam Trammell’s father was furious last April that the criminal justice system allowed two cops in Milwaukee, who repeatedly shocked his mentally ill son with stun guns in 2017, but faced no charges.

Police tend to fire stun guns at African-American men far more readily than white men. A study of police departments in Connecticut found that Black men were about three times more likely to be tasered than simply warned. White men, on the other hand, had the same chances of being warned or tasered.

In February, Maryland lawmakers were considering a bill that would require the prompt release of information by police about an investigation and prior complains.


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