MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An inmate’s death after an altercation with jailers at the Shelby County Jail was classified a homicide in an autopsy report.
At the time, details were limited as to what happened, but on Friday, a medical examiner report rules Freeman’s death a homicide. Gershun Freeman, 33, died last Oct. 5 at 201 Poplar.
A report by the medical examiner says he was restrained by jailers and subsequently went into cardiac arrest.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation began looking into the death in October at the request of Shelby County District Attorney General Steve Mulroy. The DA’s office received the autopsy report Thursday.
Freeman died due to cardiovascular disease exacerbated by the fight and restraint, the report states. The report noted that his death was classified as a homicide for state vital records, but did not indicate criminal intent.
Freeman was said to have had a history of psychosis, and had a stab wound and several drugs in his system at the time of death, the report stated.
Since then, the last four months have been devastating for Joyce Freeman.
“It’s been hard. The memories, all we do is just sit back and try to think of the good stuff,” Joyce said.
Jake Brown is representing the Freemans in a civil suit. He said surveillance video of the incident, which has not yet been released to the public, started with Freeman distraught and naked in his cell.
According to the autopsy report, he already had a history of psychosis. A corrections officer opened the cell door, and Freeman ran out.
“He was sort of swarmed on by multiple officers who appeared to be trying to apprehend him, although they were also striking him pretty violently and pepper spraying him,” Brown said.
Freeman got away, according to Brown, and was later apprehended in another part of the jail. Brown said Freeman was unresponsive, and that he didn’t have a pulse.
Brown did say Freeman received medical attention, but later died.
“When the state decides to take someone into custody, at that point the state takes on special responsibilities over and above what it would otherwise to look out for the welfare of that individual,” Brown said.
According to that autopsy report, Freeman had multiple abrasions, a laceration on his head, and a hemorrhage in his neck. Freeman’s family believes corrections officers are clearly to blame.
The death has currently been ruled a homicide, not murder.
Again, the DA has brought in the TBI to investigate whether any policies were violated.
Ultimately, the DA will decide if he believes charges should be filed. At this point, no arrests have been made.