LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Conway Police officers have been cleared of criminal wrongdoing after a man suspected of shoplifting died while in their custody.
Lionel Morris, 39, died shortly after being arrested at a Harps grocery store in Conway on February 4.
Store clerks told police two people were shoplifting after they took a drone out of its box and discarded the box.
Bodycam video released Wednesday shows Morris was initially friendly with officers and told them he planned to buy everything in his cart. But when officers began to put the couple in handcuffs, Morris ran.
Morris hit his head on a shelf while running and was bleeding from his forehead, police said.
A letter from Prosecuting Attorney Carol Crews says Morris was “actively refusing arrest” and “being combative” with officers.
After officers saw Morris reach for a knife chained to his pocket, they used a Taser to subdue him.
In the footage, he can be heard yelling “help me please” and “my heart.”
Officers called for medical help after wrestling Morris to the ground.
At one point in the video, while Morris was on the ground, one officer can be seen with a foot on his back.
Morris can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” multiple times.
Paramedics reportedly found Morris unresponsive and pulseless at the scene. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Prosecutors said the officer’s use of force was justified and reasonable given the circumstances. If Morris had submitted to arrest, his death could have been avoided.