Tyrone West remembered four years after death while in police custody

Family: We want justice for his death
Posted at 11:19 PM, Jul 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-19 06:29:26-04

Four years is a long time to wait for justice, but that's just what the family of Tyrone West is doing. It's been that long since he died while in police custody.

Tuesday his family, friends and the community honored his memory.

"I'm very hurt right now because still after four years were talking about 208 weeks, still no accountability," said West's sister, Tawanda Jones.

West's family believe police brutality is what killed their loved one. He died after being arrested during a traffic stop. Now, four years later, the family is still looking for answers.

"The pain gets worse each year. I thought by now you can kind of grip it but you can't," said Jones.

Baltimore City officers stopped West in 2013. He was asked to get out of the car. That's when police spotted a bulge in his sock that they suspected was drugs. Police chased and tackled him. The 44-year-old died in handcuffs.

"If justice doesn't happen it's like there's no hope I'm starting to feel that way it's been four years," said Jamie Richardson, West's cousin, said.

The justice West's family is seeking has to do with how he died. The department says he died from dehydration and a heart condition, but a later forensic review revealed it's because he couldn't breathe.

"This can happen, this is not an isolated incident by far, it's systemically happening it's happening all over the world," said Jones.

Jones is referring to the trend of police involved incidents and crimes. The Baltimore Police Department has been held to task since last year's scathing DOJ report. The department says transparency is a top priority as is community involvement in policing. But there's no consoling this family.

"Accountability looks like those officers that were involved in my brother's brutal execution held accountable," Jones said.

City police say they found cocaine on West on the day of his arrest, his family says police haven't been able to produce the drugs as evidence.

They intend to continue their weekly West Wednesday gatherings.