A Mississippi grand jury has indicted three former police officers in the death of a Black man who was pinned down and repeatedly tased during an arrest.
Body camera footage released on Wednesday (May 24) shows the deadly New Year’s Eve encounter between former Jackson PD officers Avery Willis, Kenya McCarty, and James Land and 41-year-old Keith Murriel, the Associated Press reports.
Officers tackled Murriel while arresting him for allegedly trespassing at a hotel on December 31, 2022. At one point during the arrest, McCarty kneeled on Murriel’s back as officers continuously shocked him with a stun gun.
A brief struggle ensued before officers handcuffed Murriel. The officers laid him horizontally in the back of a patrol vehicle. Murriel died after being taken into custody.
While speaking with another officer, Willis used a racial slur to refer to Murriel, per body camera footage.
“I hope (he) is asleep. Because if he’s asleep, it’ll be a good ride,” Willis said. “It was funny seeing (his) feet in the air.”
McCarty, who was fired in February, and Willis, terminated in April, have been charged with second-degree murder. Land was fired in April and charged with manslaughter.
Wednesday’s release of body camera footage marks the completion of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation’s probe into Murriel’s death, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said during a press conference.
“We believe we have seen actions that are excessive, disheartening, and tragic,” Lumumba said. ”And we believe that is not representative of the vision of public safety that not only this administration wants to put forward, but we believe the men and women of JPD want to put forward.”
The footage also comes less than a week after former Jackson Chief James Davis announced his retirement. Following Murriel’s death, Davis claimed the man had a “medical emergency” while in police custody. According to Lumumba, Davis’ departure isn’t connected to the indictment.
Acting Police Chief Joseph Wade pledged transparency and accountability moving forward.
“I would ask the citizens of Jackson to continue to support the dedicated, hard-working men and women of the Jackson Police Department who put their lives on the line every single day,” Wade said. “We will continue to have accountability measures in place, not only from the bottom up but from the top down as we move forward.”
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