The family of a 29-year-old Black man is seeking answers after their loved one died while in police custody in Spartanburg, South Carolina. According to The Post and Courier, Lavell Lane died on Oct. 3 at the Spartanburg County Detention Center just hours after his arrest.
Lane, who once ran track for Howard University, was arrested by Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Deputies for violating a state law that prohibits walking on the highway pavement on Oct. 2 and taken to the jail around 10:20 p.m. Lane reportedly surrendered after he initially ran into the woods and away from the police. By 5:04 the following morning, he was dead.
Lane’s father, Andy Reese, said at a news conference on Oct. 6 that the family wants all audio and video recordings of Lane at the detention center released. The family also protested in front of the detention center on Oct. 12 with representatives from the National Racial Justice Network and Black Lives Matter.
“We just want justice. Just release the video,” said Reese. “I stay up all night, can’t sleep, tossing and turning, waiting for a call from my son.”
“I wanna see everything. Show him walking in there, and show him coming out — even if you have to show him out in a body bag,” said Reese. “I wanna know what officer it was that tased my son butt-naked… It’s a hard feeling thing, to see your child go through such punishment like that, it reminds me of slavery,” he added. Reese also said that the family had not received any condolences from the detention center.
“The sheriff didn’t even step out and say ‘Mr. Reese, I’m sorry for what happened to your son; here are my condolences.’ I didn’t hear nothing,” said Reese. “And I’m weeping over my child. Please show the footage.”
Lane, who suffered from schizophrenia, was reportedly tased at some point while he was undressed and was pronounced dead just after 5 a.m. the following morning. The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office claimed that they could not comment on “active investigations.”
The family’s attorney, Rasheda Robinson, also requested that the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office show transparency and release all video footage of Lane. “Transparency is key here, guys, and the release of this video footage will give this family the closure that they need,” said Robinson.
According to GoUpstate / Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Sheriff Chuck Wright told local activist Chance Lebron on social media that Lane died of natural causes. “There’s nothing to say the poor fella went to sleep and didn’t wake up,” said Wright.
Lane’s mother, Beverly Lane-Reese, said that she wants answers and does not want another family to suffer.
“I don’t want no other family to have to go through this because this is agonizing. This is hurtful. I mean, if I knew, I might could deal with it, I don’t know. So, it’s just like a puzzle with pieces missing, and I want them to fill those pieces in.”