EL CENTRO, Calif. – Laverne and Charles Sampson were married for 40 years, the relationship ended in tragedy on December 3rd, 2013. Charles was pulled over by El Centro Police for running a stop sign, he was later arrested after police say they found a shotgun and meth pipe in his truck. He was already on probation so officers took him to his home to search for drugs. The whole incident was captured on police body-cam and dash-cam video that was made public on Thursday following a judges ruling. In the video Sampson can be seen swallowing something while in police custody, his wife acknowledges that he was not handcuffed and feels he was not searched properly either. Sampson can be seen showing signs of distress and his wife says he was sweating heavily on a cold December night, which she says trained officers should know that if that happens something may be wrong. Family members at the scene called 911, as heard in recordings included with the video an officer can be heard calling dispatch telling them to disregard the call. Christopher Morris, attorney for the Sampson family, says this is like something he has never seen before in his many years of practicing law.
Laverne Sampson hopes that her husband’s death will not be in vain, she wants law enforcement agencies everywhere to learn from this incident. Morris says this is a clear glimpse at “what not to do” as a police officer. He says the 8th amendment of the U.S. constitution requires that the officers would provide Sampson medical care while in their custody.
The El Centro Police Department responded to the video being made public saying that the officers thought Sampson’s condition was a ruse and they didn’t know he had taken meth. Morris says that is not the officers decision to make and that simply allowing the families call to 911 to go through would not have hurt their investigation.
Morris says they will be going to trial in May in San Diego and will present their case in front of a jury.