The family of ex-NFL player Stanley Wilson Jr. says he was beaten by Los Angeles County law enforcement officers before his death in a new lawsuit seeking $45 million in damages.
According to NBC News, the family of Wilson, who was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2005, filed the lawsuit on Tuesday (March 14) alleging that the 40-year-old former player died on February 1 from excessive force in LA County custody.
Wilson, who has a history of mental illness, was arrested for trespassing in November 2022 and kept at L.A.’s Twin Towers Correctional Facility because he was deemed too incompetent to stand trial, according to the family's attorney, John C. Carpenter.
The 40-year-old had no prior known medical issues as of January 31, “yet, 9:30 in the morning the next day, he was dead,” Carpenter said.
The county's coroner investigator gave Wilson's family different accounts of how he died. First, they were told Wilson collapsed and died in his cell at Twin Towers. A second report claimed he died in an ambulance on the way to Metropolitan State Hospital, a psychiatric facility. A third account stated that Wilson "fell out of his chair” and died while medical officials were asking him questions during the intake process.
“We don’t know who was with him at the time when he died,” Carpenter said, “and we don’t know what attempts were made to save his life. But a healthy 40-year-old man should not have passed like that.”
In a statement to NBC News, the LA County Medical Examiner’s Office offered "sincere condolences" to the family of Wilson, whose death is still under investigation. The office said Wilson's death was initially reported on February 1 at Metro State Hospital and that the department “maintained communication with the family in the days that followed to provide updates and answer any questions they had."
The office added that it's looking into "all factors" that could've contributed to Wilson's death and that it's still awaiting the results of a toxicology report, which they said can take between four to six months.
Wilson's family filed the lawsuit after viewing his body, which had ligature marks on the wrists, suggesting that he was restrained at the time of his death.
Though the family is seeking damages, Carpenter said they're ultimately looking for the truth behind Wilson's death.
“Everything that was admitted to his body was controlled by the county,” Carpenter said. “Every piece of food, every piece of medicine, everything that is bought — everything. They were in complete total control. And the very least the county can do is tell the grieving parents what happened to their son — the truth.”