A lifelong Choctaw activist in Mississippi was mysteriously found dead in his jail cell a day after Black Lives Matter activist Sandra Bland was found dead in a Texas jail cell.
Like Bland, the death of Rexdale W. Henry is raising many questions.
Henry, 53, was arrested on July 9th for failing to pay a fine. Despite the nonviolent nature of this offense, the activist and stick ball coach was kept imprisoned until he was found dead on July 14.
“At a time when the nation is focused on the terrible circumstances of the brutal death of Sandra Bland, it is critical to expose the many ways in which Black Americans, Native Americans and other minorities are being arrested for minor charges and end up dead in jail cells,” Syracuse University law professors Janis McDonald said in a statement.
Around 9:30 a.m, Henry was seen alive and well, despite his captivity in the Neshoba County Jail. Only 30 short minutes later, he was found dead by detention officers.
Officials have been keeping extremely tight-lipped about the circumstances surrounding his death, perhaps hoping to avoid the public scrutiny and backlash that Waller County is facing for their negligence leading to Bland’s death.
The state crime lab conducted an autopsy, but they still have not yet released the results, nearly two weeks following the incident.
His body has now been flown to Florida for an independent autopsy that is being paid for by anonymous donors, following his funeral which took place on July 19, the Jackson Free Press reports.
His family reported that he was perfectly happy and healthy and want answers as to who or what caused his death.
At the same jail, less than a year ago, a man named Michael Deangelo McDougle was also found dead, under mysterious circumstances, in an isolated holding cell. A 10 million dollar lawsuit was filed by his wife in May of this year.
“According to eyewitness testimony, Brittany McDougle’s husband, Michael McDougle, was beaten and tasered by officers of the Philadelphia Police Department on the evening of Nov. 1, 2014 while in handcuffs,” attorney Carlos Moore, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Brittany McDougle, told the Clarion-Ledger. “Mr. McDougle was also tasered while in custody at the Neshoba County Jail while in handcuffs. Mr. McDougle was found dead in his jail cell around 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 2.”
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating what happened that lead Henry to an early grave.