Attorneys: Man who died in JPD custody was tased ‘over 80 times’

Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 4:44 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A lawsuit has been filed against four Jackson police officers after a Black man’s death in police custody on New Year’s Eve last year.

Keith Murriel, a 41-year-old father of two, died following an incident with officers on December 31. According to a statement by Jackson Police days after his death, Murriel experienced “a medical emergency” and died at the scene.

Witness video obtained by WLBT News in February showed Murriel screaming while being tased.

Three Jackson police officers were placed on administrative leave following his death; one of those officers being Kenya McCarty, who was arrested by Flowood Police in 2021 after being found with marijuana at Nature Trail Park.

Now, according to attorneys Daryl Washington and Carlos Tanner, a lawsuit has been filed against those officers, as well as Officer Cazinova Reed.

The officers are being sued “for their use of excessive, deadly force and failure to render medical aid.”

The attorneys wrote that, according to an independent autopsy conducted by a “highly regarding medical examiner,” Murriel died “due to the officers’ restraint, multiple conductive energy device discharges and positional asphyxia.”

Officers Avery Willis, Kenya McCarty, and James Land are accused of tasing Murriel over 80 times and forcefully kneeing him in the back.

Officer Cazinova Reed was accused of not providing aid to Murriel following his tasing.

“After viciously assaulting and repeatedly tasing Keith until he was unconscious, the officers handcuffed Keith and placed him in a prone position in the backseat of a police cruiser and left him unattended for approximately one hour,” a statement from the Washington Law Firm read.

“Keith was left to die in the backseat of a police cruiser by four officers who took an oath to serve and protect,” the statement continued.

The lawyers claim that the family of Murriel has still not been contacted by Jackson Police Chief James Davis or Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba regarding the outcome of an internal affairs investigation.

In February, Mayor Lumumba stated that he had sent a letter to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation on January 31 requesting the agency release the body camera footage from Murriel’s arrest but had not heard back.

“We asked that [MBI] release [the body camera footage], because they are the ones that are in control of the investigation. To avoid being accused of hindering prosecution, to avoid being accused of creating some complication in the investigation, we asked that they do so,” the mayor said.

When asked on Wednesday about the lawsuit and the allegations made by attorneys Daryl Washington and Carlos Tanner, Lumumba had no comment.

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