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By Andria Simmons
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - The widow of a Lawrenceville man who died after struggling with Gwinnett deputies and being stunned with a TASER has dropped a lawsuit against the county.
The wife of Frederick Jerome Williams abandoned all claims in the wrongful death lawsuit against Gwinnett County and several deputies involved in the scuffle with Williams, the Sheriff's Department announced late Thursday afternoon.
The federal lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning the Williams family cannot refile it at a later date, said Thomas Mitchell, the attorney who represented Gwinnett County.
Williams' death drew a firestorm of criticism from civil rights groups such as the Gwinnett NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which led three marches outside the Gwinnett County Courthouse calling for a moratorium on TASER use by law enforcement.
Yanga Williams, Frederick Williams' widow, did not return messages left on her home or cellphone Thursday evening. A receptionist at the office of her attorney, Keenan R.S. Nix, said he was out of the office.
Yanga Williams' attorney is going forward with the lawsuit against TASER International and the contracted health care provider for the jail, Prison Health Services, Mitchell said. The suit alleges that a nurse working at the jail gave inadequate and lackadaisical medical care to Williams in the critical moments after he lost consciousness.
On the night of Williams' arrest in May 2004, police were called to his Lawrenceville home to settle a domestic dispute. Williams fought with officers before his arrest.
Later at the jail, Williams started to fight with deputies. A videotape shows deputies shocking Williams five times with the stun gun and then placing him in a restraint chair. He lost consciousness and died in a hospital two days later.
Williams, 31, a native of Liberia, died of brain damage from a heart attack, according to the final autopsy report, although officials were unable to say what caused the heart attack.
The suit alleged that Gwinnett law enforcement disregarded Williams' medical condition and used excessive force to subdue him.
TASERs, which incapacitate by delivering a 50,000-volt shock, have been defended as a way of subduing suspects in high-risk situations. They are used by an estimated 7,000 agencies worldwide.
Last year, Gwinnett County paid $100,000 to the victim's family in another TASER-related wrongful-death case.
That lawsuit was brought by the family of Ray Charles Austin, who died eight months before Williams. Austin, 25, was shocked repeatedly with a TASER after brawling with deputies and biting off a portion of a deputy's ear.
Sheriff Butch Conway has been a staunch advocate of using TASERs and has consistently stood behind his deputies' actions involving Williams.
"They performed their duties and handled the situation appropriately," Conway said in a press release Thursday.
"While the tape certainly looks shocking, those who are trained and know what to look for can see that they acted in accordance with proper procedures."

Wire Service
 
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