According To FOX13– Tennessee’s MEMPHIS – A recently discovered video depicts the killing of Gershun Freeman on October 5, 2022, following a fight between Freeman and prison staff at 201 Poplar.
FOX13 was able to obtain the video of the altercation from the Nashville district attorney’s office. The first few minutes of the nearly 14-minute-long video feature those correctional officers feeding prisoners in their cells.
The 33-year-old can be seen attacking and hitting two of the deputy jailers as soon as Freeman’s door opens. These correctional officials start to respond by hitting Freeman.
The deputy jailers keep punching Freeman as he quickly falls to the ground. As Freeman tries to stand up, more correctional officers rush in and start beating him.
A corrections officer catches Freeman’s feet at one point as he appears to be crawling over the floor down a hallway outside of his cell.
Later in the film, the camera shifts, and Freeman is no longer in view, but it is still possible to see numerous correction officers being grabbed and dragged back by their coworkers.
As Freeman finally reenters the picture, he is still holding onto the leg of a corrections officer. He then stands up and runs along the corridor as officers spray him with what appears to be a chemical agent.
After that, Freeman crawls out of the shot and then reappears, clinging to a corrections officer’s leg. One of the other corrections officers starts to kick Freeman.
Freeman can be seen clinging to a corrections officer’s legs in a third camera position before the officer wrenches him loose. After that, Freeman stands up and exits the shot.
Freeman then reappears in view as he boards an escalator to the fifth story of 201 Poplar on the fourth floor.
The corrections officer then appears to swat at Freeman before knocking him to the ground. Then, two additional corrections officers join.
Freeman appears to be in control with three officers around him and his hands behind his back.
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The police then maintain Freeman’s position on the ground while kneeling on his back and handcuffing him for a number of minutes.
Freeman does not move at this point. When Freeman is finally lifted to his feet, he appears languid and slumps as the corrections officer tries to lift him.
At the 12-minute mark of the video, Freeman slumps back onto the ground face first while slumped over on his knees and never gets back up.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, 33-year-old Freeman passed away in jail (TBI).
Freeman’s cause of death was listed as “exacerbation of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease due to a physical confrontation and subdual,” and his mode of death was classified as a homicide.
Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. said in a statement late on Thursday that the video release was “out of context” and that Freeman “died of a heart attack while being detained.” Below is the full statement:
“According to the Medical Examiner, Mr. Gershun Freeman had cardiovascular disease and psychosis; he passed away from a heart attack while in restraint. The film as a whole does demonstrate Mr. Freeman’s erratic and aggressive conduct, so it is sad that some of it are being broadcast out of context. These rehabilitators deserve a fair review of this case, and I will wait for additional information from the TBI and the investigating DA before taking further administrative action.”
Charges of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated violence arising from an event on September 29, 2022, were the grounds for the 33-year detention. old’s Authorities allege that at that point, Freeman assaulted a woman by repeatedly striking her in the face and threatening to kill her at a U-Haul location on Austin Peay Highway. After Freeman’s passing, his family claimed they were left in the dark.
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“I want to know why they haven’t phoned us and given us anything about the situation,” Freeman’s father George Burks told FOX13 in an interview following Freeman’s death. I had to get up, visit the mortuary, and determine this for myself.
Nicole Freeman, Freeman’s wife, agreed with him in that regard.
Nicole Freeman remarked after his death, All we know up to this point, we had to find out on our own. “There is absolutely no information.”
Nicole Freeman said that she was not even aware that anything had happened to her husband until she received a call at 1:30 in the morning on October 6 telling her that something had occurred, but she was not given any further information.
She found out about her husband’s passing five hours later. Ben Crump, an attorney, has asked the DOJ to look into 201 Poplar in the wake of a prisoner’s death.
As recently as February 17, 2023, Freeman’s family and loved ones gathered in opposition outside of 201 Poplar.
Nationally recognized civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who was in Memphis to represent the family of Tyre Nichols, a man who died after being abused by five Memphis Police officers, also expressed his concern over Freeman’s murder.
“In Memphis, we also wanted transparency for Tyre Nichols. Here in Memphis, we are seeking clarity for Gershun Freeman,” added Crump.
Ben Crump, an attorney, has asked the DOJ to look into 201 Poplar in the wake of a prisoner’s death. Release the video! This chant, which we last heard in connection with Tyre Nichols’ death one month ago, is being repeated in Memphis in support of another Black man.
As Freeman’s mother spoke that day, she expressed her shock over her son’s passing. He was the only son I had. He was conceived at Regional Medical. You could not have foretold that he would be killed nearby at 201 Poplar. Kimberly Freeman, Gershun Freeman’s mother, vowed to seek justice for her son.
Ben Crump, an attorney, issued the following statement:
“The death of Gershun Freeman is yet another shocking example of police brutality in the Memphis and Shelby County criminal justice systems. The newly released footage is visual evidence that at least 10 officers brutalized and beat Gershun to death, when he was naked and clearly suffering from a mental health crisis. Gershun’s family thanks District Attorney Glenn Funk’s office for their transparency in this, and we are confident that their office will bring these officers to justice on the criminal side.”