Marshall Miles’ mother says she wants justice for her son
Their group was small but their voices could be heard echoing down the street corridors.
About 25 protesters gathered outside the Sacramento County Main Jail on Saturday afternoon, a day after the autopsy report was released for Marshall Miles, who died days after going unconscious in custody. The demonstration was organized by Black Lives Matter to protest the improper treatment the report said led to the 36-year-old’s death in November.
The Sacramento County Coroner concluded in the report Friday that Miles died from physical exertion, drug intoxication and restraint by law enforcement, among other factors.
Onethia Riley of Black Lives Matter said the autopsy report confirmed their suspicions. She called Miles’ death a murder that was no accident, and said the group wanted to show its support for Miles’ family.
Miles’ name was depicted on several signs with the names of three other black men who either died in custody or were killed by police gunfire in Sacramento in 2018: Brandon Smith, who died June 6 from a methamphetamine overdose in the back of a Sacramento Police Department transport wagon; Stephon Clark, who was shot March 18 by police officers while holding a cellphone in his backyard; and Darell Richards, who was shot Sept. 6 in Curtis Park by police officers after they told him to drop his weapon, later identified as a pellet gun.
Miles was arrested Oct. 28 after several 911 callers reported him jumping on cars and acting erratically several days before in the area of Watt Avenue and A Street in North Highlands. Miles was then transported to the county jail where security cameras and handheld camera footage showed him being restrained and struggling with officers during the booking process.
He later became unresponsive on a cell floor less than a minute after deputies carried him there, according to video of the incident, according to previous reporting by The Sacramento Bee.
The coroner listed Miles’ official cause of death as “complications of cardiopulmonary arrest during restraint and mixed drug intoxication,” noting the presence of narcotics in his system and blunt force injuries to his body.
Video released by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department showed Miles telling deputies several times throughout the incident that he could not breathe.
After deputies and fire personnel performed CPR and attempted to resuscitate him using a defibrillator, Miles was taken to Sutter Medical Center where a CT scan that found “findings consistent with global hypoxic anoxic injury,” a partial or total lack of oxygen to the brain,
He died four days later on Nov. 1.
Keyan Bliss said he was at the protest on Saturday to show solidarity for the life of Miles, as well as the other black lives that have been taken by Sacramento police offers and sheriff’s deputies.
“I think it’s important to realize that this pattern of black lives being killed in police custody,” Bliss said.