The family of former NFL player Stanley Wilson Jr., who died last month while in Los Angeles County custody after a recent arrest, said the 40-year-old’s death was the result of “excessive force.” and “deliberate indifference.”
His parents said they found Wilson’s body with “tie marks” on his wrists and “fresh injuries” to his head that appeared to be “caused by a shoe,” according to a claim filed this week seeking $45 million in damages from the county. . Wilson’s father is Stanley Wilson Sr., a former running back in the NFL.
No official cause of death has been released, but the parents said the county “seriously misrepresented the cause and circumstances” of their son’s death, according to the claim.
“The county failed to implement or maintain proper procedures for engaging individuals with mental disabilities, including Stanley Wilson Jr.,” the claim states.
Wilson had recently been deemed incompetent to stand trial after an August 2022 arrest on charges related to home invasion, according to the claim. For some time, Wilson has struggled with mental health issues and drug use, said John Carpenter, the family’s attorney.
Wilson “suffered many traumatic head injuries” and in recent years had been exhibiting symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain condition that researchers have found to be extremely common among former NFL football players, Carpenter said. . Wilson had been previously arrested in Portland, Oregon, after an attempt to rob a mansion while naked.
“This is how we treat our mentally ill people, put them in jail or let them live on the streets with no 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 soccer from 2001 to 2004. The cornerback was drafted in the third round by the Detroit Lions in 2005. His professional soccer career ended three years later after he tore his Achilles tendon. .
Some media reported that Wilson died last monthciting law enforcement sources that he collapsed while being transferred from the county’s Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles to Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, which provides care for people found incompetent to stand trial.
But Carpenter said that the night before Wilson died, a nurse completed a medical evaluation and found no problems. Carpenter said the family plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit “to get to the truth of what really happened.”
“It just doesn’t make any sense that he’s dead the next morning,” Carpenter said.
Los Angeles County spokesman Jesus Ruiz declined to comment on the case, citing pending litigation.
“Los Angeles County offers its deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Wilson,” Ruiz said in a statement. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office did not immediately respond to questions about the status of Wilson’s autopsy.
The county has 45 days to respond to the family’s complaint, filed on behalf of Wilson’s father; mother, Pulane Lucas; and their estate, at which time the family can file the lawsuit.
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 write off people with mental illness,” he said. “They are treated with indifference, and we believe that played a role in Stanley’s death.”