The video, which is believed to contain evidence of a possible foul play, was destroyed by Hampton Roads Regional Jail, Va., officials.
Officials at Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Virginia have deliberately failed to keep video footage that was taken outside of the cell of a mentally ill black man, who died while in custody, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.
Jamycheal Mitchell’s family and the public will no longer know the truth of what led to his death because jail officials have destroyed the only evidence that could have brought closure to yet another case of suspicious in-custody death of an African-American man.
Mitchell, who was mentally ill, died in custody on August 19, 2015, after spending 101 days for allegedly stealing $5 worth of snack food from a convenience store.
According to the Times-Dispatch, the 24-year-old’s death came just after the judge ruled that he is incompetent to stand trial and therefore, should be transferred to Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg, Va.
The medical examiners in ruled that Mitchell, who was found to have lost almost 50 pounds in jail, died due to extreme weight loss and a heart defect.
Mitchell’s family is left with many unanswered questions and their quest for justice hampered by the absence of the footage, which is believed to contain evidence of what type of care and monitoring he had received while being held at the jail.
According to Lt. Col. Eugene Taylor III, an assistant superintendent at the jail, the video was not preserved because Mitchell’s death did not qualify as “something significant” that needed reviewing.
If there was no foul play and the prison officials had nothing to hide, why did they destroy the footage that could have put this case to bed?
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