Knoxville, TN – Knoxville police released videos on Thursday of the in-custody death of 60-year-old Lisa Edwards, whom officers didn’t believe when she warned them she was having a stroke as they arrested her outside a hospital (video below).
Edwards was discharged from the Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center at about 7 a.m. on Feb. after having spent the night there because she was suffering abdominal pain after being diagnosed with constipation at Blount Memorial Hospital, WVLT reported.
When she refused to leave the hospital complex, security called the police to evict her from the property.
When officers arrived on the scene, they talked to her and decided to arrest her, WVLT reported.
Bodycam video showed responding officers first tried to put Edwards in the back of a transport van, but she was unable to get up the step inside it and flailed around asking for help.
The video showed she repeatedly told officers that she was having trouble breathing.
“I’m going to pass out,” Edwards said in the bodycam.
The officers discussed whether something was wrong with the woman or if she was faking.
“My problem with me is that I know it’s all an act,” one of the officer told the others.
Well we all know that s-t,” another officer agreed. “But unfortunately, if she goes over and can’t breathe, the act’s going to turn into a problem.”
Edwards continued to insist that she was in serious medical trouble and believed she was having a stroke, the video showed.
“I’m going to die,” she told the officers.
“You’re not going to die,” one of the officers responded.
“I need a stretcher,” the 60 year old told the officers from where she lay on the ground, propped on the police transport van.
“Get a stretcher?” an officer asked.
“Yeah,” Edwards replied.
“Why do we need a stretcher?” the officer asked in the video.
“I can’t breathe,” she told them again.
Bodycam video showed one of the officers began lecturing Edwards.
“Listen to me. This is the Lord’s Day,” he said. “All I wanna do is get me some coffee and some oatmeal. I’m not going to deal with your mess this morning.”
Another officer offered her a cigarette from her purse, the video showed.
Police ultimately shoved Edwards into the back of a police car to transport her to jail, WVLT reported.
The officer who was transporting Edwards stopped to respond to a reckless driver en route to the jail and that was when he discovered that his prisoner was unresponsive, according to video from inside the patrol vehicle.
Officers took her back to the medical center where she was placed on life support and later died, WVLT reported.
The district attorney’s office investigated and determined that Edwards had died of a stroke.
Investigators determined that Edwards had suffered from multiple medical maladies before her interaction with the police and the officers couldn’t be held criminally responsible for her death, WVLT reported.
Knoxville Police Department officials said that all of the officers involved in Edwards arrest have been placed on paid administrative leave while an investigation into whether they followed department policies and procedures in their handling of the incident is conducted.
Knoxville Police Communications Manager Scott Erland said the investigation would determine whether any police policies were violated and if so, it would be handled accordingly, WVLT reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content and Obscene Language: