A grand jury in Mississippi charged three former police officers for laughing at a man who died in their custody. Body camera footage shows that one of the officers asked if he should call an ambulance for the man right away.
On Wednesday, officials in Jackson, the state capital, said that a grand jury in Mississippi had charged two former police officers with murder and another with manslaughter in the death of a Black man who was seen on video being held down and shocked repeatedly with stun guns during a New Year’s Eve arrest.
The Associated Press looked at hours of video from the officer’s body camera that showed what happened.
Keith Murriel was arrested for reportedly breaking the rules at a hotel after the officers asked him to leave the parking lot. The officers had to tackle him to get him to the ground. The video showed that cops Avery Willis, Kenya McCarty, and James Land had a hard time putting handcuffs on Murriel while he was shocked over 10 times.
A city spokeswoman, Melissa Faith Payne, said that McCarty, Willis, and Land are all black, while Land is white.
After putting Murriel in handcuffs, the police put him on his back in the back of a patrol car. Officers try to put Murriel in the car for 17 minutes of the hour-long video from their body cameras.
The tweet below verifies the news:
Body-camera footage shows three ex-police officers who were indicted by a Mississippi grand jury joking about a Black man, Keith Murriel, who died in their custody. One officer questioned whether to immediately call an ambulance for Murriel. https://t.co/XPZWcXrneK
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 26, 2023
In the last 43 minutes of the video, neither the doctors nor the police officers check on Murriel to see if he needs medical help right away. The video is broken up into different clips, and it’s not clear if police officers helped Murriel when they weren’t on tape.
“I hope (he) is asleep. Because if he’s sleeping, it’ll be a good ride,” Willis is heard saying about Murriel on camera, using a racist slur. “Seeing his feet in the air was funny… At first, it was amusing. After a while, it started to bother me.”
After the officers left Murriel in the police car, Willis said he would call a sergeant to find out when the officers should call an AMR ambulance.
“I don’t know if he wants to wait until we get down (to the station) to do this until I give him AMR,” said Willis. “That way, at least he’s already down there, because if we open the door, he’s going to try to get out.”
After an hour, the clip from Willis’ body camera stops. In the next 12-minute clip from Willis’ body camera, the paramedics arrived. When the back door of the police car was opened, a paramedic saw that Murriel wasn’t breathing.
Then, McCarty told an EMT that Murriel was “on something.” The Jackson Police Department has not said if any drugs were found in the toxicology results for Murriel.
Before taking Murriel to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead, paramedics did CPR on him. Willis can be heard telling someone on the body camera video that Murriel choked on his own vomit.
Daryl Washington, a lawyer for Murriel’s family, said the cops’ words and actions were enough to get them charged.
Washington said, “It makes you wonder how these officers act when they are not being recorded by their own body cams.” “But these cops knew that their body cams were on, and they felt very safe because they thought nothing bad would happen to them. Keith’s family won’t let this go unnoticed, which is what usually happens in these kinds of cases.”
The cops are being sued by Murriel’s family in a civil court. Washington said that city officials didn’t give them enough time to look at the video before it was made public. Some people in the family saw the video for the first time in the news.
“We thought we’d have at least a couple of days to get ready,” he said.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said that the city was now releasing body camera video because an investigation into the death by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation was done. On May 12, the cops, who all used to work for the Jackson Police Department, were all charged with crimes.
Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones told WJTV-TV that Land is out of jail on a $75,000 bond and that McCarty is out on a $150,000 bond. As of Wednesday, the sheriff said that Willis had not been caught. When asked by phone Thursday afternoon if he had been taken, the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office did not call back.
Click on the following links for more news from the California Examiner:
- Three Former Jackson Police Officers Charged With Homicide in Keith Murriel’s De@th
- A Illinois Man Who D!ed in WWII Will Be Buried in Killeen, Texas
Attorneys for McCarty and Land did not answer emails and phone calls right away. When asked if Willis had hired a lawyer, the Hinds County District Attorney’s Office and the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office did not answer right away.
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