A graphic video showing a 41-year-old Black prisoner’s inhumane treatment by corrections officers before dying in-custody has been leaked on social media to show how the inmate was “murdered.” Shaheen Mackey, who was an inmate at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, suffered from an epileptic seizure only to met with a brutal response that his family argues caused his death.
The incident happened in 2018, but the horrific footage was leaked this week by the husband of a woman who is the administrator of Mackey’s estate, which has sued a number of parties seeking justice. The video was leaked just weeks after a $3 million settlement was reached between the county and Mackey’s estate.
“During the 4 hours he was held their, Shaheen Mackey had a seizure and called for medical help,” Nieem Johnson wrote in part on his Facebook page, where he posted the video Monday night. “While his hands was cuffed behind his back in the chair with a spit mask on his face and his feet shackled, the correctional officers shocked him with tasers and not just held the spit mask on his face but choked him with it.”
In the video that lasts for more than 23 minutes, corrections officers can be heard accusing Mackey of restraining even though the footage shows he was not. He is repeatedly told to “calm down and breathe,” advice that is not effective when someone is in the throes of an epileptic seizure like Mackey was. Throughout it all, Mackey was shackled and restrained in a chair for nearly a half-hour without being taken anywhere for medical assistance.
The medical examiner’s office ruled Mackey died of natural causes.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who on Wednesday shared a portion of the video to his followers on Twitter, called Mackey’s treatment “Sickening!”
Mackey died June 6, 2018, two days after being hospitalized from the prison incident that included what his daughter described as a disingenuous effort at reviving her father.
“How do you give CPR in a chair?” Mackey’s daughter, Tatiyanee Mackey, asked rhetorically during an interview with local news outlet WNEP. “Anyone who knows anything about CPR, you gotta lay them down flat, tilt their head. … They did that after his body was limp in a chair. They didn’t try.”
She and her family members have said they want accountability and reform with better training for prison staff, not money. None of the corrections officers involved in the incident were disciplined, let alone criminally charged or fired, for what family members called mistreatment and medical negligence.
Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis reacted to the video by telling a local news outlet that she made the right call by not charging anyone involved.
“Neither the county’s decision to settle the civil action, nor the video’s release affect the investigation or decision with respect to criminal charges against the corrections officers in this case,” Salavantis told Citizens Voice on Wednesday. “It should be noted that not only did our office expend a substantial amount of time and resources doing a full investigation into the incident; the matter was also reviewed by federal authorities.”
The full leaked video and is extremely graphic and follows below. Watch it at your discretion.