Anthony Mitchell (2023)

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Overview

Note: the dates in the lawsuit and other reports seem to differ by a day, e.g. the lawsuit claims that Mitchell was declared dead on January 26, but news sources said, "state and local officials later confirmed" that Mitchell died on January 27.[1][2]
Video shows inmate authorities described as ‘alert’ being carried while he appears unconscious

On January 12, 2023, Mitchell's family asked the Walker County Alabama Sheriff's Office to conduct a welfare check, as Mitchell was in a "delusional and psychotic state". Deputies reported that Mitchell fired a handgun at them and ran into a wooded area. Mitchell was captured and arrested for attempted murder.[2][1][3]

Mitchell was being held in jail before his trial, and was placed in an isolation cell. Mitchell was kept naked, and the room contained no bed, other furnishings, or toilet.[1][2]

According to claims in a lawsuit, on January 25, 2023, Mitchell was restrained and placed "in the jail's walk-in freezer or similar frigid environment" for hours.[1]

On January 27, 2023, Mitchell was found unresponsive in his cell. Over the next five hours, officers and medical staff walked by his cell without taking action. When Mitchell was examined by medical personnel, they recommended that he be taken to the hospital. The Sheriff's office claimed that Mitchell was "alert and conscious" and suffered a "medical emergency" after arriving at the hospital. Contrary to the statement, surveillance video shows officers carrying an unresponsive Mitchell into a vehicle for transport to the hospital.[2][1]

Officer Karen Kelly used her cell phone to record video of Mitchell being carried from the jail.[4]

On January 27, 2023, Mitchell died.[2] The emergency room physician who treated Mitchell stated that, "hypothermia was the ultimate cause of his death".[1]

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency opened an investigation and will report its findings to the county District Attorney.[2]

The incident was captured on the jail's surveillance cameras.[2] An officer recorded the video on their personal cell phone and released it to the family.[1]

On February 10, 2023, Kelly was fired.[4]

On February 13, 2023, Mitchell's family filed a federal lawsuit against the Sheriff and several officers and staff, claiming wrongful death in violation of Mitchell's rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.[2]

Officers named in the lawsuit include Braxton Kee, Captain Alicia Tidwell, Morgan Madison, Jeremy Farley, Richard Holzman, Benjamin Shoemaker, Dayton Wakefield, Denzel Mitchell, Bailey Gainey, Catherine Cligan, and Jacob Smith.


Officers Involved


Public Comments

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Mitchell v. Smith, et al, 2:2023cv00182, U.S. District Court, 2023-02-13
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Lee Hedgepeth, Lawsuit claims Alabama man froze to death in police custody, was ‘likely’ placed in jail freezer, The Hill, 2023-02-13
  3. Police overview, Walker County Sheriff's Office, 2023-01-13
  4. 4.0 4.1 Cynthia Gould, Whistleblower who leaked video in jail death case had been named 'Officer of the Month', ABC 33/40 News, 2023-02-15

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