Thursday, his family filed a civil lawsuit against Salt Lake City claiming they used a taser on Nelson causing his death. The family is relying on a key witness who watched police and Nelson.
Darlene Bessonette walked over because police were following Allen Nelson.
He was riding a bike at 3 a.m. when police stopped him.
“I stopped because I could see all the lights, the flashing lights,” says Darlene Bessonette.
She moved in for a closer look.
“I could hear him hollering ‘don't hit me again, don't hit me again. I didn't do it. I didn't do it,’" she recalls.
She couldn’t see Nelson because a police car blocked her view.
“And then I heard the officer say ‘I tased him’ and the other one said 'you tased him, oh my god he's not breathing'’ says Bessonette.
She left and Nelson died on the street.
On Thursday, his family filed a civil lawsuit against Salt Lake City police.
They blame police for using a taser causing his death.
“I wake up every morning with an emptiness in my heart and my stomach, not knowing what happened,” says Nelson’s son Tyson Powers.
The family attorney says Nelson wasn’t a violent man and a taser was uncalled for.
"To use a taser on a non-violent person not only violates their own policy but it is dangerous," says Robert Sykes.
But Salt Lake's police chief says Nelson's death isn't their fault.
"Their tasers were taken from them and downloaded from the computer and shows they did not deploy their tasers at all,” says police Chief Chris Burbank.
Burbank says each taser has a device that verifies when a deployment was made and how much power was used.
“We have a witness,” says Sykes. “And she heard two officers talking about tasers.”
And what angers Sykes is the treatment Bessonette got when she was interviewed from police.
“They grilled her for 90 minutes trying to get her to change her story,” he says.
Sykes also says Salt Lake City police refused to give the family any reports of the incident or results of the autopsy.
But the police chief says they're still waiting for results.