Civil Liberties

Alabama Cops Staged Jailhouse Suicide, Lawsuit Alleges

A man and his girlfriend were picked up for public drunkenness and the man was dead the next morning


The father of a twenty-six year old who police two years ago said committed suicide in a jail cell in Mt. Vernon, Alabama after being picked up with his girlfriend for public drunkenness is suing the city and the police department, alleging that police staged the suicide after beating his son. In court documents filed this week in U.S. District Court, Framon Weaver Sr. claims that his son's girlfriend, Monica Griffin who was also picked up by police, observed Framon Weaver Jr unconscious and covered in blood surrounded by police officers in the jail's parking lot. The lawsuit claims Griffin wasn't "booked in" and was left unattended until she entered the parking lot. According to the lawsuit, police only then locked her into a cell. Weaver believes his son was already dead when Griffin saw him in the parking lot, and points to findings in the autopsy such as no internal neck injuries and multiple abrasions on the forehead as evidence not consistent with a suicide. The lawsuit also says the autopsy listed "hanging" as the cause of death and "suicide" as the manner, without a specific cause such as asphyxiation.

The lawsuit alleges police tased the hand-cuffed Weaver and once he died hanged his dead body in a jail cell and staged a "discovery" of the body more than 14 hours later. The lawsuit charges the city and police with a violation of Weaver's rights, including punishment without due process, as well as negligence and wrongful death resulting from the excessive use of police force. The father is demanding a jury trial.