Warning: This story contains graphic content depicting violence, death and profanity.
JACKSON, Miss. — In the hours before Keith Murriel died on New Year’s Eve, three recently indicted former members of the Jackson Police Department repeatedly Tased the 41-year-old in the parking lot of an extended stay hotel, using a stun gun against him at least 26 times in one 10-minute span.
That is according to hours of unedited body camera footage from the three officers released by the city of Jackson on Wednesday and reviewed by the Clarion Ledger, part of the USA TODAY Network.
Officer Kenya McCarty, who was charged with second degree murder last week by a Hinds County grand jury, first arrived on the scene around 8:45 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2022. She could be heard at times in the video commenting on having to work on New Year’s Eve. McCarty was responding to a call placed by the hotel’s security guard, who said in the videos that Murriel had been loitering in the parking lot and was unresponsive to questions or requests to leave.
Using a number of profanities, McCarty repeatedly told Murriel to leave the lot, which he ultimately did, after she walked him to the adjacent Waffle House parking lot. But the confrontation did not end there.
By the time officer Avery Willis arrived at about 8:55 p.m., the security guard said Murriel had been seen back on the property. Willis was also charged with second-degree murder last week. Willis and McCarty then discussed what they would do if they saw him back on the property.
“I can’t be disrespected like that that many times,” McCarty said.
“He come back when we leave, that’s fine because then I can just put hands on him,” Willis later said.
In a video that started at 8:57 p.m., a physical altercation quickly began between the two officers and Murriel, who had yet to say anything comprehensible on video. In the first 10 minutes of the video, taken by Willis’ body camera, Murriel was Tased at least 26 times. At about 9 p.m., one of the officers called for backup. At about 9:05 p.m., officer James Land arrived. Land was charged last week with manslaughter.
Once Land arrives, Murriel is Tased an additional 13 times in less than three minutes.
The city of Jackson released 10 videos from the three different body cams. Because those videos overlap, it’s difficult to say how many total times Murriel was stunned.
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For the next few minutes, Murriel was Tased repeatedly as the officers yell at him to put his hand behind his back so that they could get his other wrist into the handcuffs. The only thing Murriel said, other than in unintelligible screams, was “man, stop.” He said it over and over.
At one point, in a video recorded by McCarty’s body camera, Murriel looked up at her, giving a rare direct look at his face. Murriel begged McCarty to stop.
“Don’t f–ing look at me. Do not look at me,” McCarty said.
Eventually, after even more drive stuns from their stun guns, the officers managed to load Murriel into the back of a patrol car, but his legs blocked the door, preventing it from closing. After they instructed him to move his legs, and he did not respond, Murriel was Tased yet again.
At this point, at about 9:10 p.m., McCarty received a message from dispatch. The dispatcher told McCarty that a citizen had called the police out of concern after they saw Murriel Tased “four” times but did not hear anyone call for an ambulance.
McCarty confirmed that a “Taser has been deployed,” which seemed to leave the dispatcher with more questions.
“Is AMR (ambulance company) called or what? Nobody said he was Tased,” the dispatcher said.
McCarty said they were busy trying to get him in the patrol car, but to go ahead and call the ambulance company. The ambulance did not arrive until 10:10 p.m., almost an hour later.
Once Murriel is in the patrol car with the doors closed, the videos showed the three officers, discussing with their sergeant whether Murriel will leave in an ambulance or be brought to jail, what he would be charged with and how long the jail would hold him. They were also joking and laughing, including about sensitive racial and sexual topics.
McCarty, Willis and the sergeant are Black, while Land is white. Murriel is Black. The sergeant questioned McCarty and Willis’ repeated use of the n-word, which the sergeant objected too. The three officers then made a number of jokes about the word, including the reasons why Land can’t say it but the other two can.
Land also asked the sergeant if he can take a nap, to which the sergeant said no.
At one point, Willis and Land also discussed and viewed photos of women and commented on them.
No one in law enforcement, including the sergeant, was shown on video checking on Murriel’s condition during this span. By the time paramedics checked on him they reported he was no longer breathing.
As paramedics attempted CPR on Murriel inside of the ambulance, Willis looked at the other officers.
“Is he, is he alive?” Willis asked.
Soon after, as the officers step in to assist with CPR, a female paramedic says that Murriel may have choked on vomit. When members of the Jackson Fire Department arrive, they ask what happened to Murriel. Willis does not mention the Tasers, instead saying he choked. He later tells the sergeant the same, that it looks like Murriel choked. By the time the last video was recorded, at about 11:05 p.m., as Willis is taking the security guard’s statement, the officer tells the guard that Murriel may have choked on food, not vomit.
“Hopefully he does pull through,” Willis said.
Murriel was taken by AMR to St. Dominic’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.