BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The family of Anton Black announced they are filing a federal lawsuit, seeking justice for the Black teen who was killed in police custody on the Eastern Shore in 2018.

It alleges Black’s death could have been prevented several steps along the way, even before that fatal encounter with Greensboro Police more than two years ago.

Among his final words were “I love you,” to his mother in September 2018, before the Eastern Shore teenager died in police custody.

“I’m very sorry. There was nothing we could do,” one of the officers was heard on the body worn camera video.

“I never seen anything so brutal as what they did to my child,” said Antone Black, Black’s father.

Black’s father recalls the incident, which started with police stopping his son over a call of a possible abduction. That child turned out to be a family friend.

Black ran away from officers, was ultimately tased and subdued in front of his home, where he died.

“My child didn’t have a knife. Didn’t have a gun. Didn’t have a stick or a brick,” Antone Black said.

The Caroline County State’s Attorney declined to take the case to a grand jury. The medical examiner ruled Black’s death “accidental” from “sudden cardiac death.”

His family says that is not true.

“It’s ridiculous not just through the science, but ridiculous through the observations,” said the family’s attorney Ken Ravenell.

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Greensboro Police released the body camera footage of Black’s arrest in January 2019 after months of refusing to release it. Read our breakdown of the video here.

Black’s attorneys filed a 64-page federal lawsuit Thursday, naming more than a dozen defendants, including the three officers involved. It also names the state medical examiner and the towns of Greensboro, Centreville and Ridgely for “failing to adequately screen, train and supervise their officers.”

“They shouldn’t have to go through what we went through. I just want to get justice for my son,” said Anton’s mother, Jennell Black.

“Anton deserved more than publicity. He deserves justice,” Ravenell said.

“For the courts to declare what happened here was illegal and to require going forward, the various entities involved take steps to prevent it from happening ever again,” said Sonia Kumar, ACLU of Maryland Senior Staff Attorney.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office declined to say anything about the lawsuit, nor did the Greensboro police chief respond to WJZ’s requests for comment.

A civilian “wearing a helmet emblazoned with a Confederate flag” assisted in Black’s arrest. He is not named as a defendant, but is mentioned in the lawsuit.

Black’s attorneys argue the officer “improperly enlist[ed] the aid of a civilian without law enforcement training.”

Read the full lawsuit here. 

Paul Gessler