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Black man dies after Milwaukee hotel guards pin him down, video shows


Black man dies after Milwaukee hotel guards pin him down, video shows

Milwaukee police are looking into the death of a Black man in an incident that is drawing comparisons to the 2020 killing of George Floyd, after footage emerged that appears to show hotel guards pinning the man to the ground as he called for help.

Witness video shows Dvontaye Mitchell, 43, lying on the ground and crying for help outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel as security guards pin him down with their hands and knees. Mitchell can be heard grunting and yelling apologies. Mitchell’s attorney said he had mental health issues.

Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer representing Mitchell’s family, said in a statement that a witness to the June 30 incident had reported seeing one of the guards “striking him in the head with an object.” Police did not address those allegations.

“It is deeply troubling that we have lost another Black man in an encounter with security personnel, raising serious concerns about the use of force, lack of accountability, and absence of mental health considerations,” Crump added in the statement. “The circumstances surrounding Dvontaye’s death outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel are disturbing and as described by a witness, reminiscent of the killing of George Floyd.”

Floyd, who was Black, died in Minneapolis in 2020 after a White police officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes — an incident that sparked a wave of global protests over racial inequality. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was convicted and sent to federal prison.

Police said they were called to the Hyatt for a person causing a disturbance about 3:20 p.m. on June 30. They received a report that the person began fighting while being escorted out. When they arrived, officers found the person unresponsive and unsuccessfully tried “lifesaving measures.”

Crump’s statement identified the person as Mitchell and said his mother “believes he was suffering from a mental health episode.”

“Shocking cell phone video corroborates accounts of several witnesses,” the statement added. “Dvontaye’s family is now left searching for answers and justice in the face of this tragic loss.”

It is not clear what happened immediately before or after the videos were recorded. In one video broadcast by local media, a guard appears to address the person shooting the video, shouting: “This is what happens when you go into the ladies’ room.” The company that runs the hotel, Aimbridge Hospitality, did not immediately respond to a question about whether Mitchell had entered a women’s restroom.

Mitchell’s family and legal team should be given access to the full footage of what happened that day, his mother, Brenda Giles, said during a news conference near the hotel Monday, adding: “I want justice for my son.”

“From the time he got here, to the time he went in there, to the time he ran into this bathroom … we should be able to see all of that. Why haven’t they showed us?” asked Mitchell’s sister, Nayisha Mitchell.

Milwaukee police said they are looking into the incident and the cause of Mitchell’s death.

“The matter has been referred to our office and is currently pending further investigation. There’s no timeline for a charging decision at this time,” the Milwaukee district attorney’s office told The Post on Tuesday.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office said July 1 that the preliminary cause of Mitchell’s death was homicide, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The medical examiner’s office said in 2018 that it defines homicide as “death ‘at the hands of another’ regardless of intent,” purely based on “the medical evidence present at the time of the investigation,” and its determination does not necessarily mean that someone else is legally responsible for the death.

The office did not respond to a request for comment early Tuesday.

Giles told Milwaukee NBC affiliate WTMJ that Mitchell was “a loving son, brother, uncle, daddy.” But she said Mitchell changed after losing his father in 2016.

Nayisha Mitchell said her brother went into a depression after that and “was trying to also work on himself.”

She told WISN 12 News that the security team “should have been trained to deal with this type of situation. Mental illness is real.”

A spokesperson for Hyatt said: “We extend our heartfelt condolences to Dvontaye Mitchell’s family, all those who knew and loved him, and the Milwaukee community in light of this tragedy.”

The spokesperson said the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee is “operated by Aimbridge Hospitality, which is responsible for the management of hotel employees, including the disciplinary actions related to the individuals involved in this incident. We understand Aimbridge Hospitality is still completing its investigation, and to date, has suspended its employees involved in the incident.”

A spokesperson for Aimbridge Hospitality said: “We offer our sincere condolences to Mr. Mitchell’s family and loved ones. We continue to do everything we can to support law enforcement’s ongoing investigation into this incident and have no further comment at this time. We remain committed to maintaining a safe and welcoming environment for all hotel guests and associates.”

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