An Alabama inmate froze to death after being locked in a jail’s kitchen freezer as punishment while in police custody.
Surveillance video from Jan. 26 shows Anthony Don Mitchell’s lifeless, frozen body being lifted by Walker County Jail officials into a vehicle to be transported to the hospital, according to Action News 5.
GRAPHIC: Man froze to death after being locked in jail’s kitchen freezer as punishment, lawsuit says https://t.co/5HROXIPR5F
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Alabama Law Enforcement Agency claimed the Walker County Sheriff’s Office requested an investigation of the 33-year-old man’s death.
Contradicting the security camera footage, the sheriff’s office stated that Mitchell “became unresponsive at the hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.”
A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Margaret Mitchell, the inmate’s mother, alleges abuse and neglect against Walker County Sheriff Nick Smith, 10 corrections officers, two nurses, and one investigator, according to Fox News.
Protesters demonstrated outside of the Walker County jail and sheriffs office. (RELATED: REPORT: Inmate Found Unresponsive While In Custody, Third Death Within Month At California Jail)
Mitchell’s body temperature was 72 degrees when jail officials opted to drive his body to the hospital rather than call an ambulance.
An autopsy has not been released, but the physician who examined Mitchell believes hypothermia caused his death.
“I am not sure what circumstances the patient was held in incarceration but it is difficult to understand a rectal temperature of 72° F 22° centigrade while someone is incarcerated in jail. The cause of his hypothermia is not clear. It is possible he had a underlying medical condition resulting in hypothermia. I do not know if he could have been exposed to a cold environment. I do believe that hypothermia was the ultimate cause of his death,” the physician said.
Mitchell was arrested Jan. 12 and booked on charges of attempted murder, according to 6 WBRC.
Deputies responded to a call from concerned family members of a Carbon Hill man threatening to harm himself or others.
Mitchell, whose face was painted black, was aggrieved by the deputies’ welfare check. He shot at deputies with a handgun, then ran into nearby woods.
Law enforcement found Mitchell in a shed.
An investigation recovered Methamphetamine, heroin, and a handgun from the scene.
“We knew he was in jail, and we thought that was the safest place for him at the time,” Mitchell’s family member said. “But it turned out to be the worst place for him.”