Articles Tagged with excessive force

Arrested for stealing $5.05 worth of candy and soda, a 24-year-old man from Portsmouth, Virginia, Jamycheal Mitchell, has allegedly been starved to death by prison guards. Mitchell has been repeatedly diagnosed with psychotic and delusional disorders, has allegedly been left to starve in squalid prison conditions. His aunt, Roxanne Adams, has filed a lawsuit against the prison.

It is reported that his medical records show that he died of a “heart condition “accompanying wasting syndrome of unknown etiology.” The lawsuit alleges that “jail staff had allegedly denied him many meals, cut off the water to his cell and left him naked with no bedding or shoes as he smeared feces on the window of his urine-covered cell.” He had lost 40 pounds in his time in Hampton Roads Regional Jail, and was “nearly cachetic.” The lawsuit also alleges that inmates pleaded with guards to help Mitchell, to no avail.    

The 112 page complaint identifies 39 defendants, including the Hampton Roads Regional Jail, the state Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services and the private prison health care firm, NaphCare. Adams is demanding a jury trial and $60 million in damages for wrongful death. The prison is not commenting on the suit.

Earlier this year, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s (DA) office announced that it would not press charges against the California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer, Daniel Andrew, who was recorded on a cell phone throwing down a woman and repeatedly punching her alongside the 10 Freeway. The district attorney’s office issued a 30-page report concluding that Officer Andrew was “required to use some level of force” to keep the victim, Marlene Pinnock, from running or walking out onto freeway traffic. The DA’s office further stated that Andrew was by himself and had a duty to protect both Ms. Pinnock and commuters from a potentially dangerous situation.

Back in 2014, a cell phone recording of this incident was released online and caused public outrage. The DA’s decision not to file criminal charges comes nine months after the final use-of-force report was issued on Pinnock’s original arrest on July 1, 2014. It has also been over a year since CHP gave the DA their report on their criminal investigation into Andrew’s actions.  The video shows him throwing Ms. Pinnock down to the ground, sitting on her, and punching her at least ten times. Andrew was also forced to resign as part of a $1.5-million settlement reached in September in an excessive force lawsuit filed in federal court by Pinnock against CHP. Civil rights advocates had pushed for additional criminal charges.

What is the Standard for Use of Force?