The family of former NFL player Stanley Wilson Jr., who died last month while in Los Angeles County custody after a recent arrest, say the 40-year-old’s death was the result of “excessive force” and “deliberate indifference”.
His parents said they found Wilson’s body with ‘ligature marks’ on his wrists and ‘fresh wounds’ on his head that appeared ‘to have been caused by a shoe’, according to a claim filed this week seeking 45 million dollars in damages to the county. Wilson’s father is Stanley Wilson Sr., a former NFL running back.
An official cause of death has not been made public, but the parents said the county “grossly misrepresented the cause and circumstances” of their son’s death, according to the claim.
“The county failed to implement and maintain proper procedures for hiring people with intellectual disabilities, including Stanley Wilson Jr.,” the complaint states.
Wilson had recently been found incompetent to stand trial after an arrest in August 2022 on trespassing charges, the claim said. For a time, Wilson struggled with mental health issues and drug abuse, said John Carpenter, the family’s attorney.
Wilson “suffered numerous traumatic head injuries” and had in recent years exhibited symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain condition researchers have found extremely common among former NFL football players, Carpenter said. . Wilson had previously been arrested in Portland, Oregon, after an attempted robbery of a mansion while naked.
“That’s how we treat our people with mental illness, we incarcerate them or let them live on the streets without any support,” Carpenter said, calling Wilson’s story a particularly tragic one. “He had all the promise in the world, and he ended up like this.”
In 2014, Wilson graduated from Stanford, where he played football from 2001 to 2004. The cornerback was drafted in the third round by the Detroit Lions in 2005. His professional football career ended three years later. late after tearing his Achilles tendon.
Some news outlets reported that Wilson died last month, citing law enforcement sources that he collapsed while being transferred from Twin Towers County Correctional Center in downtown Los Angeles to Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, which provides care to persons deemed incompetent to stand trial.
But Carpenter said the night before Wilson died, a nurse performed a medical evaluation and found no issues. Carpenter said the family plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit “to find out the truth about what really happened.”
“It makes no sense that he died the next morning,” Carpenter said.
Los Angeles County spokesman Jesus Ruiz declined to comment on the matter, citing ongoing litigation.
“LA County extends its sincere condolences to Mr. Wilson’s family,” Ruiz said in a statement. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office did not immediately respond to questions about Wilson’s autopsy status case.
The county has 45 days to respond to the family’s request – filed on behalf of Wilson’s father; mother, Pulane Lucas; and his estate – at what point the family can take legal action.
Carpenter said Wilson’s parents contacted him about a lawsuit after finding their son’s body in a “different condition than they expected”.
“It’s easy to marginalize people and exclude people with mental illness,” he said. “They are treated with indifference, and we believe that played a part in Stanley’s death.”