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9 Tennessee Deputies Charged With The Death Of Inmate In Mental Health Crisis

Nine deputies in Tennessee are facing charges related to the death of 33-year-old inmate Gershun Freeman in October of last year. Disturbing video evidence revealed a brutal incident at the Shelby County Jail, where Freeman was punched, kicked, pepper-sprayed, and eventually had a knee placed on his upper back during a lengthy struggle.

Stevon Jones and Courtney Parham, two corrections officers, were charged with second-degree murder and aggravated assault while acting in concert with others. Jones also recieved another charge of assault causing bodily harm. Court records show that Jeffrey Gibson, Anthony Howell, Damian Cooper, Ebonee Davis, Lareko Donwel Elliot and Chelsey Duckett were charged with aggravated assault resulting in the death of another. The final officer being charged was redacted from the report.

An autopsy report listed Freeman's manner of death as a homicide but did not definitively indicate criminal intent. It highlighted his history of psychosis and a healing stab wound in his back as possible contributing factors. Freeman's death is being labeled as another example of police brutality, and a lawsuit has been filed against Shelby County by attorneys Jake Brown and civil rights attorney Ben Crump.

Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner, who is also running for mayor, criticized the charges, claiming that no actions by his office's employees caused Freeman's death. However, the autopsy report suggested a connection between the physical altercation and Freeman's heart condition.

Link: USA Today


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