The death of Gershun Freeman in a Memphis prison last October was ruled a homicide in an autopsy report. According to a recently revealed autopsy report, the death of a Black man in a Memphis jail following an altercation with corrections officers has been labeled a homicide.
On October 5, 2022, Gershun Freeman, 33, passed away in the Shelby County Prison in Memphis. According to the county medical examiner’s death report, Freeman “had a heart collapse” following the altercation that resulted in authorities restraining him. “CPR was attempted,” but it failed. On-site medical personnel declared Freeman deceased. The district attorney’s office in Shelby County is currently investigating his passing.
The case is receiving attention in a city that is still processing Tyre Nichols’ horrific police beating death on January 7. Benjamin Crump, the family lawyer for the Nichols, has confirmed to VICE News that he will also represent the Gershun Freeman family.
Jake Brown, one of Crump’s local co-counsels, told VICE that he had seen the security footage of the incident inside the jail.
Brown remarked, “The movie started with Mr. Freeman in an isolation cage, naked. “And he was screaming at the cell’s camera… Despite the fact that there were no sounds and we couldn’t understand what he was saying, he was clearly very upset and might have been experiencing a psychotic episode.
The autopsy report, which VICE News was able to get, mentioned a prior history of psychosis.
Soon after, the view changed to an officer standing outside the cell, and you could see them approach the man’s door and open it. And the reason they opened it is unclear,” Brown told VICE. Mr. Freeman “left his cell and bolted.”
Check the youtube video given below-
At that point, according to Brown, a number of police officers arrived and tried to take him into custody, but they also repeatedly struck him with batons and fists. He was hit in the head by at least one officer who brandished what seemed to be a pepper spray can.
Brown claimed that he was also sprayed with an oil-based substance by the prison officials, who are deputies with the Shelby County Sheriff’s office, which is in charge of running the facility and the spray made Freeman’s body slippery and hard to restrain.
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There was a lot of striking, and although I’m not an expert on the subject, it seems like there might have been other, more effective ways to control this man than just by striking him. Yet that was the situation, according to Brown.
The surveillance footage, in Brown’s account, then depicts Freeman escaping the “pod” through numerous open doors and ascending to a higher floor.
He was sort of surrounded and then sort of set upon by at least three or four deputies when he reached the higher floor. They had his face down on the ground and were on top of him. They remained on top of him for at least a few minutes.
Brown claimed that although the film depicts finally arriving medical professionals in scrubs attempting to provide aid, when they lifted up Freeman’s body it was lifeless and there was a pool of blood underneath it, particularly around his head.
Here is a tweet embedded about one officer stuck, you may go through it-
“They were also striking him repeatedly with batons, fists… at least one officer struck him on the head with what appeared to be a pepper spray container.” https://t.co/gmAN5clV8i
— VICE News (@VICENews) February 15, 2023
Exacerbation of “cardiovascular disease due to a physical altercation and subdual,” according to the autopsy report, was Freeman’s cause of death. Although the autopsy labels the death as a homicide, it states that this does not “suggest with certainty that criminal intent was involved.”
Freeman’s body had numerous contusions, his scalp had lacerations, and his head and neck had numerous hemorrhages, according to the autopsy. According to Brown, one of those hemorrhages, measuring 7 by 3 centimeters and located on the big muscle in Freeman’s neck that runs parallel to the carotid artery, implies that Freeman’s neck had been subjected to constant pressure.
The question at hand, according to Brown, is whether a knee likely caused it to the neck or another type of choke hold. His team has ordered an unfinished independent autopsy from a forensic pathologist in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Freeman had only been charged with aggravated kidnapping and domestic violence four days prior to his booking into the Shelby County jail. His bond was set at $75,000.
Shelby County District Attorney General Steve Mulroy claims in a statement that he “immediately brought in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to investigate” after becoming aware of the death in October. But, his office stated that its own Justice Review Unit would “examine” the TBI’s probe and, once finished, make a recommendation to DA Mulroy after obtaining the autopsy results on Wednesday evening.
The Shelby County Sheriff’s office declined to comment on the matter during a phone conversation with VICE News, citing the ongoing investigation.
Floyd Bonner Jr., the sheriff of Shelby County, is now running for mayor of Memphis. The election will take place on October 5, 2023, one year after Freeman’s passing.
According to Brown, Freeman’s family wants the Sheriff’s office to provide explanations and take responsibility.
They are attempting to accept that their son entered the Shelby County Prison on his own two feet and exited with, in his mother’s words, a toe tag.