MOBILE – Civil rights attorneys from across the nation were in South Alabama Thursday morning just before the funeral of a man who died after an encounter with Mobile police officers on July 2.

Jawan Dallas, 36, was detained after a 911 caller reported someone trying to break into his trailer home. During a struggle, he was hit by a Taser stun gun, and he later died at the hospital.

Attorneys in Dallas’ case say they have put the city of Mobile on notice and plan to file a lawsuit soon.

“We want to send a message to the city of Mobile, Alabama,” attorney Harry Daniels said. “It doesn’t matter how far you're away from the large cities, the Gulf Coast because as Dr. King said, injustice anywhere is a threat of justice everywhere.”

The attorneys claim false arrest, battery and wrongful death against the city. They say they plan to fight for justice in state and federal courts.

Daniels said witness testimony differs from information released by police. They said the person the 911 caller was talking about was not burglarizing a residence. They said, at best, that person may have been attempting to trespass, but he never got past the gate around the home.

Furthermore, Daniels said Dallas was not the suspect and was only an innocent bystander.

Mobile Police chief Paul Prine previously offered condolences to the family of Dallas, saying a lot of misinformation and false narratives had been pushed out to the community throughout the investigation.

Prine said Dallas matched the description of the person accused by a 911 caller of trying to break into his trailer. The caller told dispatch the suspect left and went to another lot. When police arrived on that lot, they saw two men sitting in a car. One of them complied, but Dallas did not, and he tried to run from officers, Prine said. He said during the struggle, officers said they used a Taser on Dallas, but it was ineffective, and Dallas tried to take it from the officer and attempted to bite one of them.

At that point, Prine said the officer had every right to use deadly force under policy and state law but did not. The officer continued to struggle with Dallas until he was subdued.

After being detained, Dallas told police he was having difficulty breathing due to asthma, Prine explained. EMS was called out to render aid. Dallas was taken to the hospital, where he died.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said the family of Dallas deserved to see the body and dash camera footage from the scene.

“Police have seen the video,” he said. “They know exactly what happened. Why would they keep that from the public? And the family, especially?”

It is against Mobile PD’s policy to release any body-worn camera footage to the public, Prine said.

Civil rights attorney John Burris came from Oakland, California, for the press conference and Dallas’ funeral Thursday. He said Tasers can be deadly weapons, and one should not have been used in this case.

“Then they used force, a Taser, that ultimately killed him,” Burris claimed. “And all I can think about is the number of volts this kid received, this young man received in his body. He should not have received any.”

Burris believes police created the confrontation.

Crump, who has represented clients in high-profile civil rights cases nationwide, said he wants to see justice in this case. He also said he hopes the case is heard about not only in Alabama but nationwide.

“The fact that you can be a person who committed no crime but yet sentenced to death – we believe because he fit a certain description of what police think are criminals – and that’s being a black man in America,” said Crump. “And so, we have to send a message, coming from Mobile, Alabama that we must have transparency to help us get the truth to lead us to justice and that is the only way we can have peace here in Mobile over this tragic killing.”

Crump said it’s mind-boggling that law enforcement identified Dallas as a threat when he was running away from them. Attorneys said the photos of Dallas’ body show he was hit with the Taser in the back.

Mobile County NAACP president Robert Clopton, Sr. said it appears Dallas was treated so harshly because of the color of his skin.

“It’s a sad situation when that has to happen,” said Clopton. “It’s a sad situation when an individual like me has to worry each and every time my children leave home. It’s sad when I even have to check myself when I see a blue light turn on behind me.”

Prine said Dallas, a convicted felon, was in possession of methamphetamine and spice at the time of the incident. At the time of his death, he had two warrants for probation revocation, which is why investigators say he likely tried to run from officers.

A preliminary report states there were no contusions, blunt-force trauma or bruising to Dallas’ body. An autopsy report or toxicology report has not been released.

The Mobile Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice are investigating.

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