Three former Jackson police officers have been charged in connection to a man dying in their custody.
Officers James Land, Kenya McCarty, and Avery Willis were initially placed on administrative leave following the death of 41-year-old Keith Murriel, who passed away while in the officers’ custody on New Year’s Eve.
After an investigation, McCarty and Willis have been charged with second-degree murder, and Land has been charged with manslaughter, according to Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens.
“I would ask the citizens of Jackson to continue to support the dedicated, hard-working men and women of the Jackson Police Department who put their lives on the line every single day,” Acting JPD Chief Joseph Wade said during a Wednesday press briefing. “We at JPD will continue to be transparent and we will continue to have accountability measures in place, not only from the bottom up but from the top down as we move forward.”
Murriel’s death was initially classified as a medical emergency by former JPD Chief James Davis, who retired from the force just five days ago. The family of Murriel filed a lawsuit against the former officers, alleging excessive force against the 41-year-old and a refusal to provide medical assistance.
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba stated that he did not see a connection between these charges and former Davis’ sudden decision to retire.
According to Jackson’s Director of Communications, Melissa Faith Payne, the body camera footage chronicling the events that led up to Murriel’s death has been sent to both Murriel’s family and the directors of local media outlets.
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