Headline — 28 February 2018 — by Albert J. Ciego
Humphrey Mitchell, 44, dies in police custody

Police said that he jumped out of a moving police vehicle

SARAWEE, Stann Creek District, Fri. Feb. 23, 2018– Less than 24 hours after a man was beaten to death by law enforcement in Orange Walk Town, at about 4:00 yesterday morning, Humphrey Mitchell, 44, a Jamaican businessman of Sarawee, died in police custody.

Mitchell was being taken from his village to the Dangriga Police Station on a committal warrant. He reportedly jumped out of the moving police mobile and impacted the pavement, suffering massive head and body injuries.

Police picked him and rushed him to the Southern Regional Hospital, but nothing much could have been done to help him. He died shortly after his arrival.

During a police press brief held this morning at the Racoon Street Police Station, ACP Joseph Myvette said that police went to Sarawee to serve Mitchell with a committal warrant to take him to prison for an undisclosed amount of money that he owed the court. A relative of Mitchell said that the amount was only $80.

Mitchell was shown the warrant, and after that, police arrested him and put him into their vehicle. ACP Myvette said that he was not handcuffed, and a policeman was along with him in the pan of the pickup. The officers drove toward Dangriga to book him at the station, but on their arrival at Mile 3 on the Stann Creek Valley Road, not far from the Southern Regional Hospital, Mitchell suddenly jumped out of the vehicle in an attempt to escape, said ACP Myvette.

Myvette said that standing procedures was followed and the Commissioner of Police has ordered an investigation into this death to be conducted by the Professional Standards Branch and the Crimes Investigation Branch.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, said that it was negligence on the part of the officers, because there was enough space in the vehicle to put Mitchell inside. But because the camera in the vehicle was not turned on, he can’t tell exactly what happened, he said.

Mitchell’s female relative, who knew him well, told Amandala today that Mitchell was not a trouble-maker; he was mild-mannered and easy to get along with, she said. He came to the village in 2011, and her dad welcomed him, they became friends and he stayed with them, for a while, and he became like a family member to them. After her dad died, he moved away to live on his own in the village, but kept in touch with them, she said.

Mitchell was well known in the village, and was a member of the dominoes team there and participated in other activities.

We asked if she was surprised that he jumped out of a moving vehicle to his death. She said that knowing him and his stand about not going to jail, she was not surprised, but she will miss him.
She said that she saw him shortly before police came, and he seem worried, but as usual, he would not talk to say what was bothering him, and that was the way he was, he seldom talked, she said.

Those who knew him said that he worked hard, and owned a fry chicken shop and also was a mechanic. He was the father of two children who live in England. He and his common-law wife broke up about a year ago.

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