KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The family of Lisa Edwards, the woman who died in policy custody after she was arrested outside a Knoxville hospital, has retained the same civil rights attorney that represented families in the cases of George Floyd and Pamela Turner as they prepare to file a lawsuit in her death.
“Anyone with any common sense could tell that something was going wrong with Ms. Edwards at the time and that she needed medical attention,” said attorney Devon M. Jacob.
Edwards, was arrested on a charge of trespassing at the Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. A short time later she collapsed in the back of the police cruise and died the next day at the hospital.
“There’s are definitely a few things called into question here,” Jacob said. “It’s is my belief that the hospital is directly liable along with the police department.”
The Knox County Regional Forensic Center conducted the autopsy and revealed Edwards died of a stroke. The District Attorney announcing two weeks ago charges would not be filed in the case because the actions of the officers did not contribute to Edwards’ death.
Jacob still believes there are charges that fit the situation. “There is a complete abuse of authority that you see here, there’s official oppression with respect to how they used their police power,” he said.
“There are various statutes that are maybe lower in the level on a grading scale of homicide that certainly apply here.”
Jacob said they are currently in the process of getting a representative for Edwards’ estate appointed.
“It may take a few weeks to get there but you know we will get there we will get those facts,” Jacob said. “We will be able to request medical records, we will be able to put together a proper complaint, lawsuit and we will be able to proceed forward at that point.”
Once Jacob gathers all of the information, he expects lawsuit to be filed.
“From what I see on the video and from what I can already see with respect to the hospital’s involvement, I can say with certainly that there will be at least hospital defendants and police defendants,” Jacob said.
Knoxville Chief of Police Paul Noel said the department is conducting its own investigation and called the bodycam footage of the incident ‘disturbing’. Fort Sanders Medical Center is also conducting its own investigation.