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


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 dad and mom of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who died three days after Memphis law enforcement officials repeatedly punched and kicked him after a site 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 led to Freeman’s demise on October 5, 2022.

Freeman had been booked into jail every week earlier than his demise on prices of home violence associated to aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault, in line with the arrest affidavit obtained by CNN affiliate WHBQ.

Within the edited surveillance digital camera video, corrections officers are seen handing out meals to inmates and after 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 depart a path of unknown fluid on the ground beneath him as he strikes into a special hallway. Throughout two separate cases, Freeman might be seen on the ground clinging to the leg of a guard, earlier than getting up and operating away.

After officers chase Freeman to a different jail ground and attempt to restrain him, he seems to swing at an officer. Officers finally subdue Freeman, together with by putting 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 elevate 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 didn’t plan this. My son had numerous desires, numerous admiration, he cared for folks on the whole,” she mentioned. “We wish solutions.”

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 beneath 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 don’t know what is occurring in America the place regulation enforcement feels they will deal with psychological well being points like felony points. Particularly if they’re marginalized folks of shade. Particularly if they’re Black males,” Crump mentioned through the information convention.

A 19-page post-mortem report from the Shelby County Medical Examiner’s Workplace offered 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 result of bodily altercation and subdual.”

The report additionally says “possible psychotic dysfunction” was seemingly a contributing situation to his explanation for demise. The report classifies the demise as a murder, however notes it’s “not meant to definitively point out felony 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 at this time.”

“It’s 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 at the moment.”