A family is now seeking justice after a date night turned deadly for 30-year-old Terence Caffey. What started as a normal trip to the movies in Little Rock, Arkansas ended in what many are calling murder.
According to reports, Caffey was having trouble ordering food from the movie theater’s app and when he confronted employees with his concerns it ultimately ended in a physical altercation.
Police were then called to the scene and the struggle escalated to the point where Caffey was allegedly choked to the point of unconsciousness, despite telling officers he could not breathe.
Family Of Murdered Black Man Filing $100 Million Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Movie Tavern, Police
Caffey was then denied medical attention until it was too late. His family is now filing a $100 million dollar wrongful death lawsuit against the Pulaski County Sheriff’s office, Little Rock Police, and the Movie Tavern. However, the Pulaski County Police department is denying any wrongdoing.
They are also insisting that his death was caused by Sickle Cell complications and not excessive force by officers. Could there be more to Caffey’s tragic passing? Or Is this another case of police brutality?
The Shade Room investigates…
It all started with an exchange captured on CCTV, however without any audio. In the clip, Caffey can be seen in a black hoodie as he confronts an employee before wrapping his arms around him and ultimately dipping to the ground.
He then pounced on the employee, causing other security personnel and workers to rush in and restrain him.
“I have a guest who’s extremely violent, he’s fighting us, our security guard is trying to accost him. I feel like a guns been drawn,” a cinema worker said in a call to 911.
Caffey first got into with Sgt. Mark Swagerty, an off-duty Pulaski County deputy who was working security at the time of the incident.
A Timeline Of Events: Caffey’s Date Night At A Local Cinema Turns Deadly After Confronting Staff Over Incorrect Food Order
After about six minutes, more and more officers show up, including troopers with the Little Rock Police Department.
He was then handcuffed, and carried out of the building after another five minutes or so.
“I can’t breathe! I’m dead!” Caffey can be heard yelling as deputies carry him outside the movie theatre. “Just drop him! Just drop him!” an officer can be heard saying.
Bodycam footage doesn’t show much, but Caffey’s cries for help can be heard in the background as deputies work to restrain him. He was eventually slammed to the ground after another tussle with officers.
A large bruise on the side of Caffey’s face can be seen following the slam. Meanwhile, one officer tells Caffey to “stop biting.”
Caffey’s breathing becomes increasingly more shallow and deeper amidst the scuffle.
Finally, after another eight minutes, officers lift up Caffey’s lifeless body and place him in the back of a police cruiser.
First Responders Told Not To Tend To Caffey, Who Was Slumped Unconscious In The Back Of A Police Cruiser
His eyes are rolled to the back of his head, his body slouched in an unnatural way.
To make matters worse, first responders were told to tend to the movie cinema employees and not to Caffey, who was clearly in desperate need of medical attention.
Three minutes later, officers can be seen flashing a light on him in the back of the police car, before removing him from the cruiser after realizing he was unconscious.
That’s when they started chest compressions, however Caffey was pronounced dead that same night. Renowned defense attorney Ben Crump is on the case, and spoke to The Shade Room about the dubious nature behind Caffey’s death.
“His body is completely limp and they still give him no (medical) consideration,” Crump told TSR Investigates’ Justin Carter.
Family Suing Movie Theatre, 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 theatre and law enforcement agencies involved in Caffey’s death.
“When will police 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 watch the body camera footage of her son’s killing.
“I pretty much lost it, and have lost it ever since” she said of her son’s death. “The moaning, the groaning, and the pleading, I just can’t do it.”
The Pulaski County prosecuting attorney Larry Jegley has the power to send the case to a grand jury, but he never did.
County Prosecutor Could Have Sent Case To Grand Jury But Never Did, Instead Justified Officers’ Actions
When asked why no officers were charged in connection to Caffey’s death, Jegley told local ABC News affiliate KATV that “the law is the law, and evidence is evidence.”
“We did an investigation, and our ruling is our ruling,” Jegley sharply told the outlet in no uncertain terms regarding potential charges for the officers involved.
Oddly enough, on September 16, Jegley wrote a letter to the sheriff, Eric Higgins, scrutinizing the actions of the law enforcement officers. However, Jegley cited several Arkansas laws that justified the officers’ actions.
Jegley noted that “at no time did Sgt. Swagerty tase, pepper spray or strike Mr. Caffey, neither did he use or threaten to use deadly force.”
When it came to the other officers, Jegley continued to write: “as officers are carrying Mr. Caffey out of the building, it sounds as if he is having a hard time breathing.”
“However, the only place the officers are holding Mr. Caffey at this point is under his arms and legs,” Jegley ultimately added.
Officials Place Onus Of Caffey’s Death On His Own Actions, Autopsy Claims Death Caused By “Sickle Cell Crisis”
Jegley placed the onus of Caffey’s death on his own actions, claiming cinema security staff did not physically engage him until he became physical with them, thereby justifying their use of force as well as self-defense or defense of others.
However, Caffey’s mother insists that “all of the officers” involved should be charged in her son’s death, “movie theater workers and all.”
Complicating matters is the fact that the coroner’s report found that Caffey died to to complications suffered from a Sickle Cell crisis following an autopsy.
The medical examiner noted that no other trauma would have resulted in Caffey’s death. The only thing that was written in favor of Caffey was a line reading “more compassion on the part of the involved parties might have provided him with some measure of comfort in his final moments.”
Caffey’s family did say he lived with a colostomy bag for most of his life, because he was shot at a very young age when he was only eight-months-old.
But they stand firm on the fact that his death was not caused by a Sickle Cell crisis.
TSR Investigates explores cold cases and special interest news stories underrepresented in mainstream media.