9 Deputies Charged In The Horrific Beating Death Of Black Man In Memphis Jail
The family of Gershun Freeman is on the road to receiving justice.
Nine deputies in Memphis have been charged in Freeman’s death after being caught on jail surveillance videos, NBC News reports. The officers were seen punching, kicking, and kneeling on Freeman’s back while he was having a psychotic episode. Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner announced the news during a press conference on Sept. 20 but didn’t offer the names of the county jail deputies or what charges they are facing.
The troubling video shows at least 10 officers beating Freeman while he ran naked from his cell on Oct. 5, 2022. Freeman only spent a few days in jail before his death, being booked on Oct.1, facing charges of attacking and kidnapping his girlfriend. Viewers of the video see the incident starting with two corrections officers serving meals to inmates in a narrow hallway. When Freeman’s cell opens, he runs out naked and appears to charge toward the officers. The officers then chase him to another jail floor, and failing to subdue him, Freeman reportedly swings at an officer.
They eventually restrained Freeman – using knee placement on the back of his neck as a tactic – and put handcuffs on him while he laid on his stomach. Shortly after, Freeman’s body appears to be unresponsive, CNN reports.
According to a medical examiner’s report, Bonner says the victim had “psychosis and cardiovascular disease and died of a heart attack while being restrained.” Freeman’s family attorneys allege he was also hit with handcuffs, rings with jail keys on them, and pepper spray canisters. While his death was ruled a homicide by the West Tennessee Regional Forensic Center, the report says that this “is not meant to definitively indicate criminal intent.”
The city of Memphis has been under a microscope since the brutal death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of five Black police officers. Bonner, who is running for mayor of Memphis, said he is “standing with the officers.” “I find this prosecution despicable,” Bonner said.