In another case of custodial death at the hands of Memphis Police, a 33-year-old Black man named Gershun Freeman was reportedly killed in October in police custody in Shelby County Jail. The family of the deceased now seeks justice. Video footage of the alleged encounter showing the death of Freeman was made public this month.
“They have blood on their hand. They go home every night to their family. Whereas for me and my granddaughter, we have to see my son, her father, in a box.”
-Kimberly Freeman, mother of deceased Gershun Freeman
Attending a press conference on Friday, the family of Gershun Freeman, who were joined by the family of slain school-teacher Tyre Nichols, civil society activists, and prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, demanded action against the authorities.
“They have blood on their hand,” Kimberly Freeman, mother of Gershun Freeman told the press. “They go home every night to their family. Whereas for me and my granddaughter, we have to see my son, her father, in a box.” She said her son cared for people and had “a lot of dreams, a lot of admiration.”
Nashville District Attorney released 13-minute video footage of the shocking moments before Gershun’s death which shows the inmate getting manhandled and punched violently by multiple correction officers on October 5, 2022. According to Gershun’s attorney, he was beaten by 10 correction officers who used handcuffs, rings of jail keys, and pepper spray canisters.
Shelby County Police denies the family’s version and maintains that he died of a heart attack. Floyd Bonner, a Shelby County Sheriff told the press that “Mr. Freeman had psychosis and cardiovascular disease and died of a heart attack while being restrained.”
Ben Crump, a famous civil rights attorney, who is representing the family told the press: “I don’t know what is happening in America where law enforcement feels that they can treat mental health issues like criminal issues, especially if they are marginalized people of color, especially if they are Black men.”
Memphis is still reeling from the tragic death of Tyre Nichols, a high-school teacher, and father, who was killed in violent circumstances in police custody after a traffic stop.