Family Holds Vigil For Man Killed in Custody in 2014 - NBC Bay Area
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Family Holds Vigil For Man Killed in Custody in 2014

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    The family of James Greer held a vigil Monday night, two years after they say police officers' excessive force took his life. Elyce Kirchner reports. (Published Monday, May 23, 2016)

    The family of James Greer held a vigil Monday night, two years after they say police officers' excessive force took his life.

    What began as a traffic stop turned deadly within an hour. And it was all caught on camera.

    Hayward patrol officers stopped Greer, 46, on the night of May 23, 2014, about 10:45 p.m.for driving erratically, police said. They asked Greer how much he had been drinking. Greer replied that he hadn't had anything to drink and told the officers he was suffering from a stomach hernia and a knee injury.

    When the officers requested a field sobriety test, Greer reportedly stepped back and questioned what was happening. It quickly escalated from there.

    Greer's ex-wife, Deana Abello, said they Tased him several times and took him down.

    "He got shocked and concerned when he realized just how many officers were on scene," Abello said. "He was told to complete the sobriety test and took two steps back and questioned what's going on. And was quickly wrestled to the ground."

    About an hour after Greer was pulled over, he was pronounced dead at a hospital. The official cause of death was acute PCP intoxication associated with physical exertion, according to the county coroner.

    Greer's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

    "I want the police to be held accountable for what they’ve done," Abello said.

    The family's attorney said a trial is set for next January.

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