JOLIET, Ill. — Video was released after a man died in police custody in Joliet back in January.
More than five months after 37-year-old Eric Lurry’s arrest and death. His family and attorney finally saw the video leading up to his death.
The video shows the inside of the Joliet police car on Jan. 28. Lurry was put in the back of the car following a narcotics investigation. In the nearly seven minute video, it appears Lurry started chewing something.
After they arrive at the police department, officers try to get Lurry out of the car. When he’s unable to, an officer slaps him and yells at him.
Eventually one officer uses a baton to search inside Lurry’s mouth while the other plus his nose.
Lurry’s family attorney, Michael Oppenheimer, called the video extremely disturbing for a number of a reasons.
“They should have called for an ambulance immediately, they hold his nose for 1 minute and 38 seconds and then they stick a baton down his throat, that is simply unbelievable,” Oppenheimer said.
Oppeneheimer said police did several things wrong.
“Well a long time ago police used to try to do that and they ended up hurting people very badly and since then the law is that you cannot do that. You can only render aid. If you believe he swallowed drugs you have to wait for those drugs to come out naturally or that’s it, they were not trying to render aid to him, they were trying to get a conviction. There’s no proof that he had even swallowed drug,” he said.
The family said they’ve been trying to get information from police about Lurry’s death for months.
“If they knew they did nothing wrong, if they knew they were just trying to save this man’s life, why did they not release the video when they had it, when this happened, and explain this to the public? Instead they’ve hidden it. It looks bad, it smells bad and I believe it is actually the murder of Eric Lurry,” Oppenheimer said.
WGN has reached out to Joliet police for comment, but has not heard back yet.
The family’s attorney said they plan to file a lawsuit, after demanding all video and documents related to the arrest.