Stonewall, MS -- Jonathan Sanders was a horse trainer, who was often seen riding around town in his horse-drawn buggy. Sadly, thanks to a Mississippi cop, Sanders will not be seen driving that buggy any longer.
Last Wednesday, Sanders was out in his buggy when he saw an altercation between Officer Kevin Herrington and another man, whom Sanders knew.
According to an attorney for the family, C.J. Lawrence, Sanders attempted to diffuse the altercation and asked Herrington to leave the man alone. Sanders then proceeded on his way.
According to the Huffington post, a witness allegedly heard Herrington say, "I'm gonna get that n*gger." Multiple witnesses watched as Herrington then got in his car and chased down Sanders.
Three eyewitnesses then saw Herrington get behind Sanders with his patrol car and turn on his lights, spooking his horse. As the horse took off, Sanders gets knocked from the buggy, but immediately got up to pursue his horse, not realizing what had just happened.
"Jonathan immediately began to run after his horse, unaware of what was going on behind him," Lawrence said. "Herrington proceeded to chase Jonathan."
To see where he was going, Sanders wore a headlight. When he caught up to Sanders, Herrington allegedly grabbed his headlight, threw the man to his knees, and began to strangle him as Sanders was in a "praying position."
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Multiple witnesses watched as Herrington, with both arms around his neck, strangled the life out of Sanders. At the time, some of the witnesses, who were related to Sanders, had no idea that it was one of their family members.
One of the witnesses, a corrections officer in Stonewall, allegedly came out to confront Herrington in an attempt to stop the murder. He pleaded with Herrington to let Sanders go, at which point the officer claimed that Sanders "reached for his gun." Still the corrections officer asked him to let the now dying man free so he could attempt CPR, but Herrington refused, according to the witness.
"When you look at all these cases of unarmed black men being killed by police, it seems to be a common theme that the black man is always reaching for the officer's gun," Lawrence said. "You always have a white guy so much faster and stronger that he outwits the suspect, maintains his gun, then lives to tell the story of how a black man reached for his weapon."
According to the testimony, Sanders was in the headlock for 20 minutes which is more than enough time for him to have stopped breathing, gone unconscious, and died.
According to the Huffington Post,
During the incident, witnesses said, the unidentified female in Herrington's police car got out and helped remove the officer's weapon from his holster at his request.
Witnesses said that before his death, Sanders repeatedly said "I can't breathe," according to the attorneys.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is now handling the incident.
According to Sanders' girlfriend, he was taken to a nearby hospital where his family was not allowed to see him. Sanders was a father to two children who will now grow up without a father. Rest in peace Jonathan.
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