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Damien Montrell CameronScreenshot: Courtesy of Family of Damien Cameron/Monica Lee (Other)
In July of 2021, Damien Cameron died while in custody of the Mississippi sheriff’s department. According to an incident report, there are conflicting details about what caused Cameron’s death, reported Insider. However, Cameron’s family believe his death was caused by excessive force from police. The local sheriff’s department and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation are looking into the case.
Police searched the home of Monica Lee, Cameron’s mother, without a warrant July 26, 2021. Lee told Insider police chased Damien inside the house, tased him twice and knelt on his back and neck for 15 minutes. Cameron complained he couldn’t breathe. However, the MBI incident report alleged Cameron “collapsed” while running from the officers.
A heavily redacted MBI incident report obtained by Insider alleges that Cameron “collapsed” while running away from police, but an initial press release from the sheriff’s department does not say anything about Cameron collapsing.
“I was advised that Mr. Damien Cameron, who was the suspect, had broken into a neighbor’s home, and the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department was alerted and responded to the scene,” an investigator wrote in the report. “Once on scene, it was advised that Mr. Cameron fled from the officers and in the process of fleeing, he collapsed.”
Lee told Insider that the child of the neighbor allowed Cameron inside of the home. Though, the neighbor was upset to find Cameron inside the house once they returned and called the police. Rankin County Sheriff’s Department announced the day of the incident that Cameron was a burglary suspect and resisted arrest, per Insider.
The initial statement from the sheriff’s department didn’t mention Cameron’s collapse during the arrest. Cameron’s mother said no family members mentioned to investigators that Cameron collapse while running from police. She said he collapsed once after being tased, and collapsed again while officers escorted him to the police vehicle.
The sheriff’s department’s initial statement does not mention Damien “collapsing” or falling during a pursuit.
“Deputies pursued Cameron and were able to make contact,” the statement says. “Deputies issued orders to Cameron to place his hands behind his back. As the deputies approached Cameron he began to fight and resist arrest. Deputies were able to finally get Cameron secured and walk him to a patrol vehicle. After speaking with witnesses, deputies went to check on Cameron where he was found unresponsive.”
Cameron’s family believe the officers who arrested him should be held accountable for his death and is looking to the NAACP for help, via AP News. It’s not the first time a Black man died while in police custody. Not too long ago, Freddie Gray was escorted into a police vehicle during an arrest and died due to injuries he endured during custody. Cameron’s family are still in the dark about the investigation yet MBI confirmed they are still looking into it and Capt. Johnny Poulos will turn over all investigation materials to the district attorney.
After six months Cameron’s family is still struggling to pay for his funeral. The last time Lee saw her son was when she went to the jail to tell Damien she loved him and found him on unresponsive laying on the ground, per AP News. “I don’t understand why it led to that point. It shouldn’t have happened. Now, my son is gone and he’s never coming home again,” Lee said via AP.
This content was originally published here.