Police Abuse

Mississippi Cop Puts Man in Chokehold for 20 Minutes, Killing Him

No dash cams, no body cams

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Residents in Stonewall, Mississippi have been protesting and contacting their local government about the death of Jonathan Sanders at the hands of Kevin Herrington, a police officer, last week. Local authorities have not provided any substantive information about why Herrington engaged Sanders the way he did, but a local coroner ruled the death homicide by manual asphyxiation.

According to three witnesses, all of whom are related to Sanders by marriage, the interaction began when Sanders passed the cop while riding his horse-drawn buggy. Sanders asked the cop why he was bothering another man, who had been pulled over for suspected drunk driving. The driver says that after Sanders asked the cop to leave the man alone, the cop dropped the matter with the driver (even though he says he admitted to driving drunk and having expired registration tags) in favor of engaging Sanders. According to witnesses, Herrington held Sanders in a chokehold for 20 minutes while Sanders yelled that he "couldn't breathe." At one point, according to the witnesses, the cop asked a woman (reportedly the cop's wife) who was travelling in his squad car with him to help him disarm Sanders, who had a firearm on his side. take his own gun away from him. He claims Sanders was trying to reach for it. 

Some residents are calling for Herrington's arrest but local authorities are calling for patience. "I assume there may be some who may be wondering why there hasn't been an arrest," the district attorney, Bilbo Mitchell, said a town hall meeting this weekend. "That's because the investigation isn't complete."

Mitchell also said he's forwarded incidents involving alleged police misconduct to grand juries more than a dozen times without a single indictment—not exactly a fact expected to instill confidence in worried residents. Mississippi law also requires the district attorney to prove probable cause to a judge in order to have Herrington arrested, a privilege Mississippi law extends to government employees.

Stonewall police don't have dashcams or body cameras, so there's no video of the incident. Based on the reporting, every witness appears to be related to the officer or the victim. The local police department forwarded the investigation to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, which has also asked, and says it is receiving, assistance from the FBI. Herrington was suspended without pay. Like Stonewall's other eight officers, he is a part-time employee.

*thanks to commenter Perlchpr for the correction

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  1. Is the town named after *gasp* Confederate hero Stonewall Jackson?

    If so, then their collective guilt is clearly established. Atmosphere of hate!

    1. And even if it wasn’t named after him, the fact that there is a Confederate who was commonly known by that moniker means the fact that they didn’t change it still contributed to an atmosphere of hate, and established collective guilt.

      1. I didn’t read the article. Don’t have to. The only info i need is:
        1. Is the dead guy black?
        2. Is the cop white?

        I will form my opinion, thusly.

        1. There was a curveball. Black guy was open carrying on a horse-drawn buggy.

          I’m actually quite confused.

          1. The entire thing was confusing. Ed has to clean that up. Clean it up, Ed!

        2. The text of the article really doesn’t help clarify anything.

          1. I did the dirty work and googled the officer’s name. The first link that came up was from the Huffington Post, and the title is Attorneys: Mississippi Cop Kevin Herrington Said ‘I’m Gonna Get That N****r’ Before Fatal Chokehold

            However, there is some more context to the story (and also oodles of useless shit).

            1. Considering the fiasco the Brown shooting ended up being, and the likelihood the witnesses were either mistaken or lying, I’m giving this one a pass for the moment. Well, kinda. Maybe the n-word was used, maybe not. Maybe this was a struggle for the officer’s firearm, maybe it was deliberate strangulation. In the end, the officer killed a man he was, to put the best spin on it, attempting to restrain. That alone warrants serious consequences, whatever his motivation or provocation.

              1. Oh, I was not trying to say that this was justified in any respect, but the quotes from the attorney in the HuffPo article seemed extraneous.

                1. Yeah, the HuffPo piece isn’t much better than Ed’s. I mean, FFS, the story will come out in dribs and drabs, it doesn’t need to be regurgitated like a teenage girl recounting a car accident.

      2. The article is quite confusing, and contradicts the FluffPo article. FluffPo says Sanders wasn’t armed, and that when the cop asked his lady friend to come get the gun, it was the cop’s gun being referred to.

    2. It was named after the Stonewall Inn. It’s a fabulous little town.

      1. And would be appropriately ironic if ‘three witnesses, all of whom are related to Sanders by marriage’ were to be taken literally.

  2. Paging copy editor…

    1. Where’s that damn intern?

    2. I thought I was having a seizure or stroke reading the middle section.

      “That’s because the investigation isn’t complete.”

      So any time an arrest is made, that means the investigation is complete? Cops don’t continue to gather further evidence once someone is in jail awaiting arraignment? That’s not what it looks like on every single true-crime cop show, ever.

  3. Good luck getting a cop convicted or even charged in Mississippi.

  4. “I assume there may be some who may be wondering why there hasn’t been an arrest,” the district attorney, Bilbo Mitchell, said a town hall meeting this weekend. “That’s because the investigation isn’t complete.”

    They always investigate a murder thoroughly before arresting the murderer.

    1. Let alone leaking personal information about the suspect to the press. Perish the thought.

    2. Bilbo Baggins would make a much better DA. At least he had the decency to disappear.

      1. My precious… conviction rate.

  5. the interaction began when Sanders passed the cop while riding his horse-drawn buggy and asked the cop why he was leave another man, who had been pulled over for suspected drunk driving, alone That man says that after that the cop dropped the matter with him … in favor of engaging Sanders. According to witnesses, Herrington held Sanders in a chokehold for 20 minutes

    Questioning the actions of one of the King’s Men is a capital offense, apparently.

  6. According to three witnesses, all of whom are related to Sanders by marriage, the interaction began when Sanders passed the cop while riding his horse-drawn buggy and asked the cop why he was leave another man, who had been pulled over for suspected drunk driving, alone

    Uh, Ed? In English?

    1. It hurt my brain reading this. Is Ed on flakka?

      1. He’s been butt chugging jenkem

        1. I had to google jenkem. How fun!

        2. I thought jenkem was a PRODUCT of butt chugging?

          1. I thought jenkem was a PRODUCT of butt chugging?

            How the hell would I know? How the hell do you know? I was just coming up with a coupla random moral panic buzzwords. I should have put “crack babies” and “satanic daycares” in there somewhere.

      2. Krokodil

  7. “I assume there may be some who may be wondering why there hasn’t been an arrest,” the district attorney, Bilbo Mitchell, said a town hall meeting this weekend.

    His nephew, Frodo Mitchell, couldn’t be reached for comment.

  8. Based on the reporting, every witness appears to be related to the officer or the victim.

    If it’s anything like some small, podunk towns everyone in the town is related in some way to everyone else. The gene pool probably doesn’t runucj deeper than a small puddle there. The cop is most likely the product of several generations of inbreeding.

    1. *run much deeper*

      I hate typing on the tiny phone keyboard.

      1. YOure probly relation to Ed (which not isnt not copy ed).

        1. Good God, it’s contagious.

    2. Loki, you made my point before I even saw the article. The population is around 1100, and it IS Mississippi, after all. How could everyone NOT be related? Talk about being guaranteed a jury of your peers! 😉

  9. Ed, I recommend giving professional work a read-through before sending it out.

    I also recommend punctuation.

  10. Ed, I recommend giving professional work a read-through before sending it out.

    I also recommend punctuation.

    1. Strongly recommend.

      1. The skwirrlz apparently agree.

  11. Absent clear video evidence, there is zero chance he’ll be indicted by the grand jury. Note: with video evidence, the statistical chance of an indictment does not rise above zero.

    The blame will be put on the policy governing choke holds and that policy will be updated. The updated policy will not include any pertinent health details about brain death after 10 minutes without oxygen and 5 seconds without blood. Nor will it explain the difference between blood and trach chokes.

    Why didn’t the guy draw his gun and shoot his killer? Even if the killer had only one arm around his neck, then at least one arm must’ve been free.

    1. The witnesses said Herrington was shouting to them that Sanders was reaching for his gun, despite the 39-year-old being unable to reach the weapon. The officer initially asked Witness 3 to help remove the gun from his belt, before changing his mind and asking for a woman who had been travelling with him in his patrol car to come out and remove the gun with Witness 3’s guidance.

      WTF?

      1. I’m fucking lost. I suspect that I’d be very likely to “disarm” my friend, and then citizen’s arrest the cop for being a goddamned maniac.

    2. More importantly, do they not issue tasers or handcuffs to Stonewall cops? Has anyone asked? Are journalists being Stonewalled?

  12. “I assume there may be some who may be wondering why there hasn’t been an arrest,” the district attorney, Bilbo Mitchell, said a town hall meeting this weekend. “That’s because the investigation isn’t complete.”

    *screams of incoherent rage*

    FUCK THAT BULLSHIT! There is no fucking chance in hell that if someone who wasn’t one of the King’s Men chocked someone else to death they wouldn’t arrest that motherfucker straight up.

    1. I don’t disagree, but what would an arrest achieve other than satisfying the whims of a mob that hasn’t even formed yet? At best it saves them the trouble of doing so later, if an indictment is ever handed down (which, of course, it won’t be). At worst it’s another Zimmerman case involving a show trial and dismissal.

      1. Give the asshole the same ride everyone else gets. Mugshot. Printing. Bail hearing. Etc.

  13. Is anybody else surprised that the cop was in good enough shape to actually hold the choke for 20 minutes?

    1. Considering two men with guns had an altercation and one ended up choked to death, I don’t know what to believe.

      It’s like Herrington went to the Police Academy with John McClane.

      1. Yippie aye-o cay-a, motherfucker

  14. Mississippi law also requires the district attorney to prove probable cause to a judge in order to have Herrington arrested, a privilege Mississippi law extends to government employees.

    I hate this sort of horseshit. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

    1. I’m sure it’s supposed to be to prevent political shenanigans. Like how they can’t arrest members of Congress on the way to a meeting. Only in his case it extends even to meter maids, school custodians, etc., as if some political faction would try to interfere w their operation.

  15. Either Sanders or his friend should have defended his life with the gun he had.

  16. the cop asked a woman (reportedly the cop’s wife) who was travelling in his squad car

    WTF? Is it standard practice for cops to take their wives with them while they work?

    And, is it part of their training to use chokeholds on people who still have their own guns?

    Is it typical for a cop to let a drunk driver go, in order to engage with passersby?

    This whole incident is a giant steaming clusterhump of cop fail.

    Garner’s family got nearly $6mm. Let’s hope this guy’s family does as well.

  17. Didn’t read the article. Saw the pic:

    1) Wow – the perp…..er, victim….was black.

    Surprise, surprise, surprise.

    2) Can I bet that the cop was white?

    Surprise, surprise, surprise….

    *goes and checks*

    1. Jesus Christ – rename the place New Ferguson and be done with it.

    2. Not only was the victim black, but I’m guessing Amish. How often does that come up?

  18. I blame video games, for teaching cops that choking people out is the non-lethal path. Corvo, you bastard!

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