Luzerne County, PA — In June of this year, the family of Shaheen Mackey received notification of a $3 million settlement from the Luzerne County Council. Mackey, 41, spent his last moments alive, surrounded by a dozen cops, tied to a restraint chair, with a towel over his face, screaming in agony as he was repeatedly tasered — to death. Despite the facts of the case, a coroner’s report would rule that Mackey “died of natural causes,” and all the officers involved in torturing him to death were cleared. When you watch the video below, you will understand how big of a farce this actually was.
Mackey’s death registered as little more than a blip in the media after it happened on June 8, 2018. After all, without video, we would have no way of disputing the official word of the officers involved. But Mackey’s family did not buy the official story and pushed for justice for two years.
“It’s Luzerne County finding Luzerne County not at fault. There should have been an investigation by someone other than the district attorney,” Mackey family attorney Theron Solomon said after the officers were cleared in the investigation of themselves.
According to the Luzerne Observer-Reporter, it is common practice for District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis to recuse herself from cases involving allegations against police officers or departments within her jurisdiction and forward them to state prosecutors.
But this time, Salavantis decided not to recuse herself and instead successfully pushed for the officers involved to be cleared.
At the time, Salavantis said Mackey suffered from severe coronary artery disease and that the sudden, lengthy and violent outburst he initiated led to his death from heart failure.
She said the video backed up this claim yet no one was allowed to see it. It is also likely the reason they made Mackey’s attorney agree not to release it — even after the settlement was reached. But this is 2020 and it was released anyway.
This week, the video was leaked online by a friend of the family. It is nothing short of utterly horrifying.
According to the official report, Mackey was arrested on June 6. He was alleged to have violated a protective order. He was only in jail a short time — approximately 4 hours — when he suffered a medical emergency and “inexplicably began screaming and making loud noises as though arguing with himself.”
According to police he was drooling and ripping out his hair. According to his family, Mackey was suffering from a seizure and instead of getting him medical help, he was savagely attacked.
“Instead of treating the situation as the medical emergency that it was, the correctional officers treated Mr. Mackey’s convulsions with more physical force,” said the complaint, which alleged they placed Mackey in a position that restricted his breathing before using Tasers on him “at least 20 more times.”
When the video starts, Mackey is already in the restraint chair and doesn’t appear to be any threat whatsoever, as he is strapped in. He is simply moaning and squirming.
“This mother (expletive). He’s strong,” one officer said. “I don’t know what he’s on. Probably meth. When they get pumped on meth they get power like this. Just make sure you control that other (expletive) hand.”
Despite the officer’s “expert” opinion, it was determined that Mackey had no drugs in his system, indicating he was indeed having a medical emergency.
Shortly after the eight-minute mark, the sound of Tasers firing can be heard.
“It’s not even affecting him,” one officer said. “It’s doing nothing. He don’t even feel it. There’s no point in utilizing it.”
A short time later, another voice is heard saying, “Make sure he can breathe.”
But he could not breathe. Mackey was unresponsive and limp in the chair. The “experts” then tried to revive him with Narcan, which is used to revive heroin overdoses. Predictably, it was unsuccessful.
Nurses then arrive and discover that Mackey is in full cardiac arrest and he is finally removed from the chair, after being unresponsive and not breathing for nearly 3 minutes.
According to his family, who posted pictures of it online, after he was severely beaten and tasered — until he died — police then handcuffed his dead body to a hospital gurney. His family then took photos of his injuries, pointing out that he was covered in bruises and had a multiple broken bones — possibly the reason he was moaning in agony as a dozen cops piled on top of him.
As stated above, it took less than 6 months for the DA to justify Mackey’s death. No wonder they didn’t want you to see the video.
“The DA justifies what is in the video,” said daughter Tatiyanee Mackey, 20. “You see the video, but you don’t see the crime that’s being committed. How? I don’t know how, because it’s right there. It’s clear. … Accountability, that’s what we want. Justice.”