A family is now seeking justice after a date night ended in the 30-year-old’s death Terence Caffey. What started out as just going to the movies in Little Rock, Arkansas ended in what many call murder.
Caffey reportedly had trouble ordering food through the cinema’s app, and when he confronted staff with his concerns, it eventually ended in a physical altercation.
Police were then called to the scene and the fight escalated to the point where Caffey was allegedly choked into unconsciousness, despite telling officers he couldn’t breathe.
Family of murdered black man files $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against movie tavern and police
Caffey was then denied medical attention until it was too late. His family is now filing a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, Little Rock Police and the Movie Tavern. However, the Pulaski County Police Department denies any wrongdoing.
They also insist his death was caused by sickle cell complications and not excessive force by officials. Could there be more to Caffey’s tragic death? Or is this another case of police brutality?
The Shade Room examines…
It all started with an exchange that was captured on CCTV, but with no sound. In the clip, Caffey can be seen in a black hoodie confronting an employee before wrapping his arms around him and finally dodging to the ground.
He then lunged at the employee, prompting other security guards and workers to rush in and hold him down.
“I have a guest who is extremely violent, he fights us, our security guard tries to speak to him. I feel like I have a gun drawn,” a theater worker said in a 911 call.
Caffey arrived first with Sgt. Mark Swagerty, an off-duty Pulaski County deputy who was working in security at the time of the incident.
A timeline of events: Caffey’s date night at a local movie theater turns deadly after he confronts co-workers about ordering the wrong meal
After about six minutes, more and more officers appear, including troopers from the Little Rock Police Department.
He was then handcuffed and carried out of the building after about another five minutes.
“I can not breath! I’m dead!” Caffey can be heard screaming as the deputies carry him out of the theater. “Just drop him! Just drop him!” an officer is heard saying.
Bodycam footage doesn’t show much, but Caffey’s cries for help can be heard in the background as MPs work to restrain him. After another scuffle with officers, he was finally thrown to the ground.
A large bruise can be seen on the side of Caffey’s face after the punch. Meanwhile, an officer tells Caffey to “stop biting.”
Caffey’s breathing gets shallower and deeper in the midst of the scuffle.
Finally, after another eight minutes, officers lifted Caffey’s lifeless body and placed it in the back of a police squad car.
First responders said not to care for Caffey, who was slumped unconscious on the back of a police cruiser
His eyes are rolled up on the back of his head, his body is hunched in an unnatural way.
To make matters worse, first responders were told to look after the cinema staff and not Caffey, who clearly needed urgent medical attention.
Three minutes later, officers can be seen shining a light on him in the back of the police car before removing him from the squad car after realizing he was unconscious.
At this point, they began chest compressions, but Caffey was pronounced dead that same night. Renowned defense attorney Ben Crump is involved in the case and spoke to The Shade Room about the dubious nature behind Caffey’s death.
“His body is completely limp and they’re still not giving him any (medical) attention,” Crump told TSR Investigates’ Justin Carter.
Family is suing cinema and law enforcement for $100 million for their role in Caffey’s death
Crump is now representing the family and their $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the theater and law enforcement agencies involved in Caffey’s death.
“When are the police going to start understanding black people when we say we can’t breathe?” Crump went on to say.
The Shade Room spoke to his mother, Sheryl Caffey, who says she refuses to look at the body camera footage of her son’s murder.
“I pretty much lost it and have lost it ever since,” she said of her son’s death. “The moans, the moans and the pleas, I just can’t.”
Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley has the authority to refer the case to a grand jury, but he never did.
The district attorney could have sent the case to the grand jury but never did, instead justifying the officers’ actions
When asked why no officers have been charged in connection with Caffey’s death, Jegley told local ABC News affiliate KATV that “the law is the law and evidence is evidence.”
“We have conducted an investigation and our decision is our decision,” Jegley told the outlet in no uncertain terms regarding possible charges against the officers involved.
Curiously, on September 16, Jegley wrote a letter to Sheriff Eric Higgins examining the actions of the police officers. However, Jegley cited several Arkansas laws that justified the officials’ actions.
Jegley noted that “Sgt. Bragging, pepper spray or hitting Mr. Caffey, he didn’t use or threaten to use deadly force either.”
Speaking about the other officers, Jegley continued, “As officers carry Mr. Caffey out of the building, it sounds like he’s having trouble breathing.”
“However, the only place officers are holding Mr. Caffey at this time is under his arms and legs,” Jegley finally added.
Officials blame Caffey’s death on his own actions, autopsy claims death was caused by ‘sickle cell crisis’
Jegley placed responsibility for Caffey’s death on his own actions, claiming that the cinema’s security personnel did not physically assault him until he came into physical contact with them, thereby justifying their use of force as well as self-defense or defense of others.
However, Caffey’s mother insists that “all the officials involved” in her son’s death should be charged, “cinema workers and everyone”.
To make matters worse, the coroner’s report revealed that Caffey died of complications from a sickle cell crisis following an autopsy.
The coroner determined that no other trauma would have resulted in Caffey’s death. The only thing written in Caffey’s favor was a line that read, “More compassion on the part of the parties involved could have brought him some measure of comfort in his final moments.”
Caffey’s family said he lived with a colostomy bag for most of his life because he was shot at a very young age when he was just eight months old.
But they stand by the fact that his death was not caused by a sickle cell crisis.
TSR Investigates investigates cold cases and special news stories that are underrepresented in mainstream media.