Family of black man slain in Memphis jail demands justice – KESQ

By Jaide Timm-García and Isabel Rosales, CNN

The family of a black man who died in a Memphis jail In October they are making a public call for justice and they say they want answers from the authorities and accountability of those responsible.

The family of Gershun Freeman, a 33-year-old man who died in custody at the Shelby County Jail, spoke at a news conference Friday. They were joined by lawyers, including civil rights attorney Ben Crump, and supporters including the parents of nichols tire, a 29 year old black man he died three days later He was repeatedly punched and kicked by Memphis police officers after a traffic stop.

A video of Freeman’s meeting with corrections officers inside the jail was released this month.

The video, released by the Nashville District Attorney, totals approximately 13 minutes and shows multiple angles of a violent incident between Freeman and several correctional officers that ended in Freeman’s death on October 5, 2022.

Freeman had been reserved in jail a week before his death on domestic violence charges related to aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault, according to the arrest affidavit obtained by CNN affiliate WHBQ.

In edited surveillance camera video, correctional officers are seen handing out meals to inmates and when they open the door to Freeman’s cell, a naked Freeman lunges at the officers. Video shows multiple officers punching, kicking and using what appears to be pepper spray on Freeman as they attempt to subdue him.

His body appears to leave a trail of unknown fluid on the floor below him as he moves down a different hallway. During two separate instances, Freeman can be seen on the ground clinging to a guard’s leg, before getting up and running away.

After the officers chased Freeman to another floor of the jail and tries to restrain it, it seems to hit an officer. The officers finally subdue Freeman, even placing a knee on his back, and handcuff him while he was face down.

A few minutes later, when officers try to pick him up, he appears limp and unresponsive.

Kimberly Freeman, Gershun Freeman’s mother said she wants justice for her son, for herself and for her granddaughter.

“We have to see my son, his father, in a box. We did not plan this. My son had a lot of dreams, a lot of admiration, he cared about people in general, ”he said. “We want answers.”

Freeman’s family and their attorneys are also asking the Justice Department to investigate.

Freeman was naked in the video because he had been under mental health observation in jail and was placed in a suicide watch cell, said attorney Brice Timmons, who represents the family.

“I don’t know what’s going on in the United States, where law enforcement feels they can treat mental health issues like criminal issues. Especially if they are marginalized people of color. Especially if they are black men,” Crump said during the press conference.

A 19-page autopsy report from the Shelby County Medical Examiner’s office provided to CNN by affiliate WHBQ says the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation told their office that Freeman was involved in a physical altercation with correctional officers before of having a cardiac arrest.

The autopsy details numerous bruises on Freeman’s body, lacerations to his scalp, and multiple bleeds to his head and neck.

Medical examiners found the cause of death to be exacerbation of “cardiovascular disease due to a physical altercation and subjugation.”

The report also says that the “probable psychotic disorder” was probably a condition contributing to his cause of death. The report classifies the death as a homicide, but notes that it is “not intended to definitively indicate criminal intent.”

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Friday that “immediate action was taken by the Sheriff the night of the incident in October 2022. Per protocol, District Attorney (Steve) Mulroy and TBI were contacted that night to begin investigation,” adding that on the night of the incident “all officers who had contact with Mr. Freeman were relieved of their duties and remain in that status today.”

“It is unfortunate that this case is being tried by the media before the review is complete,” Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. said in the statement.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident, telling CNN that the investigation “remains active and ongoing.”

The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office has asked the Nashville District Attorney’s Office to investigate the case.

The Nashville district attorney’s office told CNN on Friday that they were “not commenting on the video at this time.”

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery company. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *