Man in need of medical help died after he was placed in chokehold by South LA charter school staff, family says

Family alleges a Taser was used on Levert Jefferson, 56, and that a school official and a security guard placed him in a chokehold before he died.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A grieving mother whose 56-year-old son was killed outside a charter school in South Los Angeles is speaking out after filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Family says the school's executive director and security guard put him a chokehold and that is why he died.

"He did nothing to deserve this," said Carol Jefferson about her son, Levert Jefferson.

On Dec. 10, 2019, his family and attorney's say Levert was running along the sidewalk next to the Center for Advanced Learning on South Central Avenue. It was around 7:30 a.m.

Levert, according to his family, was in need of medical attention.

They allege that's when the school's executive director and security guard used a Taser to subdue him.

"They placed him in a chokehold. They held him down with their full body weight," family attorney Toni Jaramilla said at a press conference. "And after this was all done in an attempt to detain him, instead of trying to call for medical attention and professional attention to help him, they instead killed him."

Jefferson was rushed to the hospital. He died five days later. The coroner ruled his death a homicide. An update on the investigation from Los Angeles police remains to be provided.

The family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school, executive director Aadil Naazir and security guard Michael Nowell.

"Levert never met a stranger. Everyone he met for some reason just took to him. You know, you always were going to be greeted with a hug, a kiss," Carol Jefferson said.

"At no time did he pose any threat to any student or to any personnel at the campus," Jaramilla said.

A family friend says he hoped Levert would have been helped.

"It cost nothing to be nice. If you see somebody down and out and they're reaching with their hand up, help them," Karim Watts said. "Don't kick them while they're down. Get 'em up."

Eyewitness News made attempts to contact the administration at the learning center. So far, no statement has been received.
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