Troy Goode had taken LSD at a concert he and his wife attended in Southaven, Mississippi, but must have been having a bad trip and began acting erratically, running around the parking lot. Though the Memphis, Tennessee, man’s behavior wasn’t violent or threatening to anyone, someone felt it necessary — likely out of misguided concern — to summon the police. That fateful decision by a stranger cost Goode his life.
Inept police arrived on scene and, as bystander video footage revealed, forcefully hogtied Goode, placing him face-down — a position known to be potentially deadly — and loaded him onto a stretcher and into a waiting ambulance.
“They hogtied him. That’s such a bad idea,” one witness can be overheard saying in that footage. “He’s currently face-down, on the stretcher,” says another. Shortly after that, a third bystander — who could not have imagined how truly portentous her statement would be — advised her companion, “Video it, just in case he dies.”
Tragically, an hour after arriving at the hospital, that’s exactly what happened.
Southaven Police maintain the absurd and unscientific claim Goode’s death was caused by his consumption of LSD. A Mississippi medical examiner’s report lists “complications of LSD toxicity” as the cause of death and “accidental” as the manner, according to MS News Now.
Police have also claimed Goode was combative, threatening officers and resisting arrest, and his violent behavior continued inside the ambulance. Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite even issued a statement in support of this claim, going as far as saying Goode never said he couldn’t breathe — despite the bêtise of such a claim. Goode’s physical and mental distress was clearly evidenced in the video and backed up by audio of bystanders’ narration of the incident.
As the Free Thought Project previously reported, his friends, family, and an independent autopsy tell a different story, saying Goode — who suffered from asthma — was denied his inhaler, and it was police’ excessive force and use of a dangerous restraint that killed him.
“He was suffocating. His heart[rate] increased into what is called tachycardia. There is no scientific basis to attribute his death to LSD,” said attorney Tim Edwards in November. “This was lethal force, putting someone in a prolonged hogtied position … The toxicology report … rules out any drug-related causes. That takes that off the table. LSD does not cause heart failure.”
On Wednesday, as they promised in November, Goode’s family filed a federal lawsuit against Southaven Police, the City of Southaven, several individual police officers and medical workers, the hospital where he was treated, and others — citing the violation of his civil rights.
According to the lawsuit, Goode’s treatment by police was nothing short of torture. In regards to the police and their use of the K-9, the lawsuit exposes downright sadistic and inhumane behavior by the officers:
- Troy approached the K-9 unit patrol car and opened the door in an attempt to voluntarily submit to police authority and enter the patrol car to be taken into custody.
- When Troy opened the door to the patrol car the police dog, a Belgian Malinois named “Weasel”, got out of the vehicle but was not aggressive.
- Defendant Scallorn grabbed the police dog by the collar, restraining it and preventing it from attacking Troy.
- Troy, who was an animal lover, began to talk in friendly terms to the dog.
- At that point and time, one or more of the Defendants willfully, intentionally, wantonly, and with reckless disregard for Decedent’s well-being commanded the police dog to attack Troy.
- Defendant Scallorn intentionally released the police dog to allow it to attack Troy.
Southaven Police Chief Tom Long recently announced his retirement as of January 22nd, after 26 years in that post and 38 years in law enforcement. Long, 61, “is leaving a department where he started as the first officer hired by the city,” reported the Associated Press. Of course, the timing is purely coincidental.
Though the family of Troy Goode is seeking a nominal $150,000 in damages, the true motivations for the lawsuit appear more altruistic. They have requested class-action status for the claim — an apparent effort to ensure no other family has to face such a tragedy from needless use of force by police.
This story first appeared at The FreeThought Project.