Cop Dropped N-Word Then Strangled Unarmed African-American Man To Death, Witnesses Say

Cop Dropped N-Word Then Strangled Unarmed African-American Man To Death, Witnesses Say
Handcuffs Victor/Flickr CC BY 2.0

Mississippi cop Kevin Herrington used the N-word before approaching Jonathan Sanders, grabbing him from behind and pulling him down by his headlamp, witnesses were one in saying. The encounter on July 8 ended with Sanders kneeling with his head down on the muddy ground with Herrington holding him in a chokehold. He refused to let go until police backup came after twenty minutes. Sanders, by this time, was already dead, the witnesses said.


“I’m going to get that n—-r”

On July 8, Sanders was riding one of his horses in Stonewall. It was not clear as to why Herrington lost his temper but initial investigations said Sanders was causing traffic. According to witnesses who have spoken with attorney Chokwe Lumumba, Herrington intentionally flashed his patrol car’s lights on Sander’s horse. The animal was startled, causing it to panic and threw Sanders on the ground, Lumumba told Daily News.

“I’m going to get that n—-r,” Herrington reportedly said according to a witness.

Another witness told Lumumba that Sanders tried to appease his horse but Herrington grabbed him from behind and pulled him down, locking him into a chokehold that last for twenty minutes. Other witnesses who tried to calm Herrington tried to get his attention to the fact that Sanders was already losing breath. Herrington, however, refused to heed their calls.

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One of the witnesses even offered to give Sanders CPR but Herrington did not allow him. Instead, the police instructed for his non-police companion to call for back up. The backup arrived twenty minutes later. By this time, Sanders was already dead, witnesses believe.

FBI looking into Jonathan Sanders death

On Tuesday, Stonewall officials said the sate and the FBI is already “providing support” in the investigation. A crowd of 60 who gathered at Stonewall’s town was told by Clarke County District Attorney Bilbo Mitchell that it is too soon to assume that Herrington was at fault, hence he is still not being arrested.

“I assume there may be some who may be wondering why there hasn’t been an arrest. That’s because the investigation isn’t complete,” Mitchell said as reported by The Associated Press. He explained that in order for Herrington to be arrested, he had to present a probable cause as per the Mississippi law. He said the case will be presented to a Clarke County grand jury as early as September.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation or MBI has spoken in the same tune, that it is too early to assume Herrington’s guilt. MBI spokesman Warren Strain said an autopsy on Sanders’ body has already been done and that his body is now in the custody of his family.

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