Cops Allegedly Declared ‘Taser Tuesday’ and Tortured a Man in Jail. Then He Died - DMT NEWS

Breaking News

Cops Allegedly Declared ‘Taser Tuesday’ and Tortured a Man in Jail. Then He Died

In September 2018, Antonio May was booked in the Fulton County, Georgia, jail on misdemeanor charges following a mental health crisis: He’d allegedly thrown rocks at a building while on amphetamines, according to his family, though he was otherwise arrested peacefully. 

But, despite that, the 32-year-old father of three never made it home alive.

Guards at the facility were overheard declaring it was “Taser Tuesday” that day, and six jail deputies proceeded to stun, beat, and pepper-spray May after he was caught masturbating in his cell, according to a federal lawsuit May’s family filed several months after the incident. Later, May became unresponsive and died on the jail floor in a pool of his own blood, his family alleged. 

Now, three years after May’s disturbing death, a Fulton County grand jury has indicted the six deputies allegedly involved on charges of felony murder, aggravated assault, battery, and violation of oath of office. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis described the accused in a statement as “three current and three former sheriff’s deputies,” according to WAGA-TV, a Fox affiliate in Atlanta.

“It is now the duty of my office to prove these charges beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury at trial,” Willis said in a statement Tuesday, according to WGCL-TV, a CBS affiliate in Atlanta. “My staff and I will continue to work to ensure that justice is done in this case.”

As for why it took so long to get to this point, Willis noted that her staff is “working through the backlog of cases left by my predecessor involving use of force by law enforcement officers.”

The prosecutor’s office and the Fulton County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to VICE News’ requests for comment. 

The six people named in the indictment were Arron Cook, Guito Dela Cruz, Omar Jackson, Jaso Roache, Kenesia Strowder, and William Whitaker. Previously, in court responses to the family’s federal lawsuit, the county has denied wrongdoing. 

The incident that ended in May’s death began on Sept. 11, 2018, when he threw rocks at the windows of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, according to his family’s lawsuit against Fulton County, the local sheriff, and several others. The complaint notes that in addition to previously struggling with substance use and mental health problems, May’s “beloved uncle” had died of complications from cancer.

When Atlanta cops responded to May’s rock-throwing, he “laid down on the ground with his arms stretched out,” according to the lawsuit. May was then taken to a local hospital for medical clearance, where health providers determined he was paranoid, high on amphetamines, and diagnosed him with “Substance Abuse Psychotic Disorder.” He was later booked in the county jail on charges of misdemeanor criminal trespass, and a medical worker there similarly determined he was on amphetamines and suicidal, according to his family’s lawsuit.

Despite those diagnoses, May was placed in a general holding cell. He took off his clothes and began masturbating, at which point a jail supervisor determined six deputies could confront him, according to the lawsuit. It was then that the deputies allegedly tased and pepper-sprayed May, before placing him in a restraint chair with a spit mask over his face. 

Restraint chairs, particularly when used in combination with other punishments, have been described as torture by human rights advocates.

Deputies then put May in a jail shower area for “decontamination” and placed a water hose in his face while flushing away the pepper spray that remained on his body, according to the family’s lawsuit.

May’s family has alleged that he “suffered excruciating mental and emotional pain up to the time of his tragic death.” The Georgia Bureau of Investigation told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that May had been combative with jail staff, which triggered the confrontation. 

An autopsy report showed May died of “sudden cardiovascular collapse due to probable excited delirium with physical restraint use due to acute methamphetamine intoxication,” according to an amended complaint the family filed last year. Other significant causes were determined to be the use of a Taser and his exposure to pepper spray. 

“No one should have to lose their life the way that Mr. May lost his,” Teddy Reese, an attorney for the family, said Tuesday, according to the Journal-Constitution. 

“Treat someone like your mother, like your father. Not like the scum of the earth,” Reese added. “Sometimes, that’s the treatment that a lot of inmates inside these facilities receive. This case is going to highlight that.”



via https://www.DMT.NEWS

Emma Ockerman, Khareem Sudlow