Household of Gershun Freeman, a Black man killed in Memphis jail, calls for justice

Family of Gershun Freeman, a Black man killed in Memphis jail, demands justice

(CNN) The household of a Black man who died in a Memphis jail in October is making a public plea for justice and say they need solutions from authorities and accountability from these accountable.

The household of Gershun Freeman, a 33-year-old who died in custody on the Shelby County Jail, spoke at a information convention Friday. They have been joined by legal professionals, together with Civil Rights legal professional Ben Crump and supporters that included the mother and father of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who died three days after Memphis cops repeatedly punched and kicked him after a visitors cease.

Video footage of Freeman’s encounter with corrections officers contained in the jail was made public this month.

The video footage, launched by the Nashville District Lawyer, totals about 13 minutes and exhibits a number of angles of a violent incident between Freeman and a number of corrections officers that resulted in Freeman’s demise on October 5, 2022.

Freeman had been booked into jail per week earlier than his demise on costs of home violence associated to aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault, based on the arrest affidavit obtained by CNN affiliate WHBQ.

Gershun Freeman’s household, legal professional Ben Crump, and RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, the mother and father of Tyre Nichols, held a press convention on the Shelby County Jail outdoors of the Shelby County Prison Justice Middle in Memphis on March 17, 2023.

Within the edited surveillance digicam video, corrections officers are seen handing out meals to inmates and once they open the door of Freeman’s cell, a unadorned Freeman lunges at officers. The video exhibits a number of officers punching, kicking, and utilizing what seems to be pepper spray on Freeman as as they try and subdue him.

His physique seems to go away a path of unknown fluid on the ground beneath him as he strikes into a distinct hallway. Throughout two separate situations, Freeman could be seen on the ground clinging to the leg of a guard, earlier than getting up and working away.

After officers chase Freeman to a different jail flooring and attempt to restrain him, he seems to swing at an officer. Officers finally subdue Freeman, together with by inserting a knee on his again, and put him in handcuffs as he was on his abdomen.

A couple of minutes later, when officers attempt to raise him, he seems limp and unresponsive.

Kimberly Freeman, Gershun Freeman’s mom, mentioned she desires justice for her son, for herself, and for her granddaughter.

“We have now to see my son — her father — in a field. We did not plan this. My son had quite a lot of goals, quite a lot of admiration, he cared for folks on the whole,” she mentioned. “We would like solutions.”

On this video nonetheless, a gaggle of guards makes an attempt to subdue Gershun Freeman outdoors his cell.

Freeman’s household and their attorneys are additionally calling on the Justice Division to analyze.

Freeman was bare within the video as a result of he had been below psychological well being commentary within the jail and was positioned in a suicide watch cell, mentioned legal professional Brice Timmons, who’s representing the household.

“I do not know what is occurring in America the place regulation enforcement feels they will deal with psychological well being points like prison points. Particularly if they’re marginalized folks of colour. Particularly if they’re Black males,” Crump mentioned throughout the information convention.

A 19-page post-mortem report from the Shelby County Medical Examiner’s Workplace supplied to CNN by affiliate WHBQ says the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation instructed their workplace Freeman was concerned in a bodily altercation with corrections officers earlier than collapsing in cardiac arrest.

The post-mortem particulars quite a few contusions on Freeman’s physique, lacerations to his scalp and a number of hemorrhages on his head and neck.

Health workers discovered the reason for demise to be exacerbation of “heart problems as a consequence of bodily altercation and subdual.”

The report additionally says “possible psychotic dysfunction” was probably a contributing situation to his reason for demise. The report classifies the demise as a murder, however notes it’s “not meant to definitively point out prison intent.”

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Workplace mentioned in a Friday assertion that “instant motion was taken by the Sheriff the night time of the incident in October 2022. Per protocol, DA (Steve) Mulroy and TBI have been contacted that night time to start the investigation,” including that the night time of the incident “all officers who had contact with Mr. Freeman have been relieved of obligation and stay in that standing as we speak.”

“It is unlucky this case is being tried within the media earlier than the overview is full,” Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. mentioned within the assertion.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident and instructed CNN that probe “stays lively and ongoing.”

The Shelby County District Lawyer’s Workplace has requested the Nashville District Lawyer’s Workplace to analyze the case.

The Nashville District Lawyer’s workplace instructed CNN Friday they have been “not commenting on the video right now.”

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