A grand jury in Mississippi recently indicted three former police officers in relation to the death of Keith Murriel, a Black man. On New Year’s Eve, officers were arresting him and used stun guns to hold him down and shock him multiple times, leading to his death.
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This week, District Attorney Jody Owens of Hinds County made an announcement that Kenya McCarty and Avery Willis are being charged with second-degree murder, and James Land is being charged with manslaughter.
Detailed body camera footage capturing the incident has been released by Jackson City officials.
On December 31, 2022, Murriel, aged 41, passed away while in police custody. It was reported by CBS News that he had been arrested by former members of the Jackson Police Department for allegedly trespassing at a hotel. Initially, former Chief James Davis stated that Murriel had experienced a “medical emergency” and died at the scene.
The attorney for the Murriel family, Daryl K. Washington, requested that the body-camera footage be shared, as it did not align with the narrative being presented, according to WAPT-16.
The body-camera footage has been released and it shows the former officers allegedly tasing Murriel multiple times while they tried to handcuff him. Even after he was in the police vehicle but his legs were still not restrained, they tased him again. Murriel can be heard in the footage asking the officers to stop.
Evidence and Statements
Murriel was placed in the back of the vehicle and left there for some time, according to the Associated Press. Unfortunately, when an ambulance arrived, he was not breathing. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was sadly declared deceased.
“The amount of force that was used on that night was totally unnecessary,” Washington told local outlets. “And the sad thing about this is that Keith died a slow and painful death.”
“Although the family would much rather have Keith here with them, there is a level of comfort knowing that the officers have been indicted for the egregious crime they committed last December,” Washington shared with ABC News. “We know that this is only the first step in a long process, but we are encouraged by the thorough investigation that was conducted and believe the officers will be held fully accountable for their wrongful actions.”
Murriel’s death was caused by an abnormal heart rhythm, and it has been ruled a homicide.
McCarty, Willis and Land have not yet entered a plea to the charges. Francis Springer, an attorney for McCarty, has informed the Associated Press that McCarty intends to plead not guilty.
“Ms. McCarty doesn’t believe she is guilty of the crime for which she is indicted or of any other crime,” Springer explained in an emailed statement, “She will enter a not-guilty plea.”
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