— KATC TV3 (@KATCTV3) July 19, 2015
Family, friends and supporters gathered in the Family Life Center Church in Quitman, Mississippi to say final farewells to Jonathan Sanders, the 39-year-old Stonewall, Mississippi man who, according to witnesses, died after being placed in a 20-minute chokehold by a White police officer, WDAM reports.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations is currently investigating Sanders’ death, which happened almost one year after the police chokehold death of 43-year-old Eric Garner. According to witnesses, Sanders’s last words were also, “I can’t breathe.”
Read more from Yahoo News:
Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the Sanders family lawyer, said authorities told relatives that an autopsy found he died from “manual asphyxiation” — strangulation. He said the manner of death was homicide, not accidental.
A spokesman for MBI said the agency doesn’t discuss ongoing investigations.
Stonewall doesn’t have cameras in police cars or on officers, putting the focus on witnesses. Clarke County Sheriff Todd Kemp said one witness is Rachel Williams, a jail guard in neighboring Lauderdale County.
Lawrence, the witnesses’ attorney and Lumumba’s law partner, won’t confirm her name, or describe the others, except to say they are related and also distantly related to Sanders by marriage. Lawrence said the witnesses sought lawyers because they fear for their safety.
Also present at the time of the death was Herrington’s wife, Kasey Herrington, who was riding that night in his police car.
Speaking at Sanders’ funeral, Attorney Lumumba offered encouragement to the family, saying, “We’re all the Lord’s vehicles, so we can’t get mad at Him when He calls home what is rightfully His. What we have to do is thank Him. Thank Him and praise Him for giving us Jonathan in the first place.”