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3 Ex-Officers Indicted for Stun Gun Death of Black Man

The death of a Black man seen on video being pinned down and shocked repeatedly with stun guns during a New Year's Eve arrest has resulted in two former Jackson, Miss., police officers' indictments by a Mississippi grand jury on murder charges and another ex-officer on a manslaughter charge, the Associated Press reports. Keith Murriel was arrested for allegedly trespassing at a hotel on Dec. 31. Body camera footage showed then-officers Avery Willis, Kenya McCarty and James Land struggling to handcuff Murriel as he was apparently stunned numerous times over 10 minutes. McCarty and Willis have been charged with second-degree murder and Land with manslaughter, court records showed. The video shows McCarty kneeling on Murriel’s back before Murriel flips around, and the three officers attempt to lock his hands behind his back. The 41-year-old man pleads with officers to stop shocking him with stun guns. After handcuffing Murriel, officers then laid the man horizontally on the back seat of a patrol vehicle before he died. All three were placed on administrative leave after the incident. McCarty was fired in February, and Willis and Land in April. McCarty and Willis are Black, and Land is White, according to Melissa Faith Payne, a city spokesperson.

Willis’ body camera footage showed him talking to another officer after the encounter. “I hope (he) is asleep. Because if he’s asleep, it’ll be a good ride,” Willis said, using a racial slur to refer to Murriel. “It was funny seeing (his) feet in the air.” Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said at Wednesday’s news conference that the city was now releasing body camera footage because a Mississippi Bureau of Investigation probe of the death had been completed. The officers, all ex-members of the Jackson Police Department, were indicted on May 12. “We believe we have seen actions that are excessive, disheartening, and tragic,” Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar 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 city released the footage less than one week after former Jackson Chief James Davis announced his retirement. After Murriel’s death, Davis initially said the man had a “medical emergency.” Lumumba said Davis’ departure was not related to the incident.


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