ATLANTA - A metro Atlanta family is accusing jail guards of murder after their loved one died at the Fulton County Jail.
Atlanta Police arrested 32-year-old Antonio May on Sept. 11 for criminal trespassing, which is a misdemeanor. The took him first to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was medically cleared, then on to the jail.
His lawyers said there have been three different versions about what happen next. The accounts come from an eyewitness in the jail, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, who was called in to investigate, and the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Most agree, May was in his cell naked when he asked for water and kept beating on the door.
“He is in the cell. They approach him because he had no clothes on. They wanted to strap him down in a restraining chair, in a cell. Now, how does that sound? It was six guards to this small man, according to the medical examiner’s report,” explained Attorney Michael Harper.
Harper, Attorney Teddy Reese, family members, and supporter all gathered outside the jail demanding justice for May.
The attorneys said May was not bringing any harm to anyone when he was in his cell.
The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s report stated May was masturbating in his cell and a guard asked him to stop, but he refused.
“Even if he was pleasuring himself with no clothes on, he is not bothering anybody,” Harper exclaimed.
The ME report also stated May tested positive for having ecstasy in his system.
According to the report, six guards assembled at May’s cell to put him in a transport chair. That is when he a stun gun was used on him twice as well as pepper spray, then put in the shower for decontamination.
“He was restrained at that point into that chair, locked into the chair. Put into a shower area where they had to decontaminate him to wash off the pepper spray that was in his face. He came out of that area, went unresponsive and died,” the attorney said.
The preliminary autopsy was inconclusive. This family wanted the officers involved suspended and Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard to investigate.
Attorney Harper said a Taser should not have been used because of the substance that was in his body.
“The guidelines from the Taser company says if a person is on drugs or have a prior medical condition. You don’t tase [sic] them,” the attorney noted.
“People always say when it is black on black we never say anything. This event occurred with all African-American officers and an African-American male. It is not about race. It is about basic fairness, it is about basic justice,” exclaimed Attorney Teddy Reese.
Fulton County Jail officials said they called the GBI in to investigate immediately and did not care to comment further out of respect for the family.
The final autopsy was still pending as of Tuesday afternoon and should determine the cause of death.