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Attorney Investigates Death of Black Man By White Police Officer in East Mississippi
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Jonathan Sanders
Attorney Chockwe Antar Lumumba

The family of Jonathan Sanders has hired Attorney Chockwe Antar Lumumba to investigate the death of the 39-year old father of two. Lumumba says Wednesday night. July 8, Sanders was exercising his horse by riding a carriage near a local gas station in Stonewall. That's where he saw Officer Kevin Herrington, pulling over a driver. He says Sanders commented to the officer that he needed to leave the man alone and that made Herrington mad.

"His statement was, he was after him. He said that was his exact words. He wanted him," said Lumumba.

Lumumba says a witness saw Herrington follow Sanders and when he turned on his blue lights it startled the horse. He explains Sanders was focused on controlling the animal, when Herrington came up behind. The officer reportedly threw Sanders down by using the strap of a headlight that hung around his neck. Lumumba says another witness heard Sanders say twice he couldn't breathe.

"Even if some allegation of some traffic violation were to be alleged, it certainly didn't rise to the level of a man being dragged to the ground and choked to death," said Lumumba.

Police Chief Michael Street says he called the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations to handle the case. He says, Herrington is on administrative leave and one of ten part-time officers.

"We want to make sure that the public trust that our department has built with our community over the past year and a half that I've been here continues," said Street.

MBI spokesperson Warren Strain says they are waiting for the results of an autopsy and the crime scene analysis. Chockwe Antar Lumumba says witnesses told him a women who was not a police department employee was with Herrington during the incident.