Authorities in Mississippi are investigating the death of an unarmed Black man that occurred earlier this week, allegedly at the hands of a white police officer. Jonathan Sanders was confronted by the officer on Wednesday, and a family attorney originally said the man was choked to death by a flashlight.
Several outlets, including the Clarion-Ledger, reported on the ongoing developments surrounding the fatal encounter. Sanders, 39, was reportedly training his horse in the town of Stonewall Wednesday night when Officer Keith Harrington approached him at a local gas station. From there, the details of what actually took place in the moments after their encounter become a bit unglued but an attorney working on behalf of Sanders’ family is seeking answers.
From The Guardian:
Jonathan Sanders suffered “some kind of asphyxiation” during an altercation with white officer Kevin Harrington on Wednesday night, in the small town of Stonewall, in the eastern part of the state, said the attorney, J Stewart Parrish.
Sanders, 39, was a father of two children including a one-year-old, according to his family.
Parrish told several local media outlets that Harrington pulled Sanders from a horse and choked him to death with a flashlight. Parrish told the Guardian on Friday that allegation had come from relatives who live beside the site of the struggle and witnessed it.
But Stonewall police chief Michael Street denied the details of the attorney’s allegations, telling the Guardian the two men engaged in “a fight” without weapons after Sanders voluntarily stepped down from a horse-drawn buggy.
Stonewall Police Chief Michael Street added in a later statement that Parrish’s accusation of a flashlight being used to choke was false. Parrish contended that saying despite whether or not a device was used, Sanders was indeed choked to death by Harrington.
Chief Street says he has asked the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations (MBI) to look into the matter. There is also a growing campaign launched in Sanders’ name called “Justice For Jonathan” that has been spread via social media.