Tory Sanders called the police for help after getting lost on the way to Memphis and running out of gas. Hours later he was dead.
A city in southeast Missouri is paying $ 500,000 to settle a family lawsuit of a black man who died after a white sheriff nailed his neck to the ground.
A federal judge said he was likely to approve the $ half million settlement, according to The Associated Press.
The lawsuit, according to the AP, was filed by the widow and children of Tory Sanders against the City of Charleston and several police officers.
Sanders died in May 2017. He was being held in a Mississippi County prison at the time.
Sanders, the Riverfront Times recalls, tried to drive to Memphis but got lost and went to Missouri. When Sanders ran out of gas, he called his mother and asked what to do.
“If I go to the police, will you help me?” Asked Sanders.
Sander’s mother encouraged him to contact law enforcement and said they would at least help him get to a bus stop so he could return home.
Protest against Black Lives Matter in San Francisco; Image courtesy of Michelle Ursino, via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, no changes made.
However, the officers decided to take Sanders into custody as they believed they were suffering from a psychological episode.
After Sanders was in custody, a prison counselor found he had paranoia and recommended that Sanders be taken to the hospital for observation.
Instead, Sanders was held in prison for several hours – when then-Sheriff Corey Hutcheson of Mississippi County was leading a team of MPs and staff in Sander’s cell.
Sanders was then grabbed, sprayed with pepper, bagged, and beaten.
After Sanders was handcuffed, Hutcheson put his left knee back on the man’s neck and held him to the ground for about three minutes – even when another officer repeatedly told Hutcheson to stop.
Sanders died shortly afterwards.
Sanders’ death later drew parallels with the murder of George Floyd, who died after a White Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 10 minutes.
“They are so similar,” said NAACP Missouri President Nimrod Chapel Jr. last summer. “Floyd and Sanders both literally died with law enforcement knees in their necks. The only difference was that Floyd was in the middle of the street and Mr. Sanders was in a prison cell. “
Chapel also pointed out the irony in Sanders’ death – that the man had taken a drive to clear his head but came up dead after asking the sheriff’s office for help.
“He’d gone on a car ride that night, supposedly to clear his head,” Chapel said. “That night ran out of gas and his life was forever changed by his interaction with law enforcement.”
Sanders’ death later led the NAACP to warn blacks, telling them to “beware of the safety concerns when traveling in Missouri”.
Hutcheson, according to The Associated Press, was later sentenced to six months in prison for unrelated crimes of wire fraud and identity theft. After pleading guilty, he resigned and no longer works in law enforcement.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch adds that Hutcheson was sued by another inmate in 2016 – in this case, the plaintiff claimed she lost her baby after Hutcheson refused to give her medical treatment. Her lawsuit was settled for $ 50,000.
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