USA (Next Media) – Witnesses have told investigators that an unarmed black man was strangled to death in Stonewall, Mississippi after he was held in a chokehold by a police officer for more than 20 minutes in early July.
Three witnesses with matching testimonies say that on July 8 at 10:30 p.m., police officer Kevin Herrington had pulled over a driver for driving while intoxicated and having expired registration tags, when Jonathan Sanders pulled up in a horse-drawn buggy and told the officer to leave the driver alone.
One witness says that Herrington then said he was “going to get that nigger” before following Sanders. The police vehicle’s lights spooked Sanders’ horse, throwing Sanders off the buggy. The Guardian reports that according to witnesses, Herrington then used Sanders’ flashlight to pull him onto the ground.
Herrington held Sanders face-down on the ground and in a chokehold. Herrington reportedly held Sanders in a chokehold for more than 20 minutes before a support officer and medics arrived at the scene. By then, according to witnesses, Sanders was already dead.
The attorney for the victim’s family says that autopsy reports have confirmed that Sanders was strangled to death. However, the police warn against making premature speculations until investigations are complete.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating the incident and Herrington has been placed on administrative leave with pay.
SOURCES: The Guardian, Vice News, New York Daily News