In yet another strange case where a person has died of “natural causes” (or suicide) while in police custody, Jamycheal Mitchell was found dead in his cell in Portsmouth, Virginia.
Initially jailed for stealing a snickers, mountain dew, and a Zebra cake totalling $5, the 24 year old was put behind bars for over 4 months prior to his death. Unsurprisingly, the death has been ruled as unsuspicious by prison officials.
Jamycheal’s family believes that he starved to death while in prison after seeing his emaciated body and hearing reports that he had been refusing meals and medication in the jail. But, it can seem odd that someone who is desperate enough to steal a snickers and misfortunate enough to then spend 4 months in jail for stealing less than a meal worth of calories would then consequently refuse any food for months. How often do people deliberately starve themselves to death while in jail on misdemeanor charges? It seems like an abnormally hard and long death, if suicide is the goal.
It’s relevant to state that Jamycheal had been diagnosed with schizofrenia, making his behavior likely far less than rational. Theoretically, Jamycheal was supposed to have been transferred from the jail to a hospital, but the order never went through due to “insufficient beds.” Currently, no one is taking responsibility for his death or his inappropriately long confinement for a misdemeanor crime, and throughout his imprisonment family members were denied visitation rights.
Coincidentally, he was jailed on the exact same day as unarmed 18-year-old William Chapman was gunned down by Portsmouth Police. And although it is unclear exactly who is responsible for Jamycheal Mitchell’s death in custody: it is clear that the police and justice system are in dramatic need of reform.