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Arkansas prosecutor declines to charge officers involved in suspect's death

August 1, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Police officers in the central Arkansas city of Conway have been cleared of wrongdoing in connection with the death of a man who was in custody.

(CNN)Police officers in the central Arkansas city of Conway have been cleared of wrongdoing in connection with the death of a man who was in custody.

The case has drawn attention because during his arrest, Lionel Morris told officers he could not breathe and three officers each used a foot to restrain him while he was on the ground.

In explaining her decision, Crews said, "even when Mr. Morris can be heard on body camera video claiming to be in distress, he was actively refusing arrest and being combative with officers. "

Morris gave officers a fake name, according to the Conway Police Department.

As officers attempted to handcuff Morris, he ran through the store, authorities said.

When officers caught Morris, he resisted arrest for several minutes, video of the incident shows.

Officers are seen wrestling Morris to the ground.

Authorities say during the struggle, Morris attempted to take out a pocket knife as he was being subdued, so officers used a Taser.

At one point after Morris' plea for help, an officer can be heard yelling "I'll break your f****** wrist. "

While Morris is restrained face down on the ground, one officer can be seen with a foot on his leg, another officer had a foot on his buttocks, and a third officer had a foot on his back.

When the Conway Fire Department arrived, they observed Morris moving with "shallow respirations," according to a letter from Crews to state police investigators explaining why she was declining to charge the officers.

Conway police Chief William Tapley said the department and city offered their condolences to Morris' family.

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