WALKER COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — The FBI is part of an ongoing investigation into Anthony “Tony” Mitchell‘s death in police custody, according to the Alabama Attorney General’s Office.
The FBI’s involvement arrives after Mitchell’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming he froze to death after being put inside the jail’s freezer. The lawsuit also claims that the sheriff and other employees attempted to cover it up.
The sheriff’s office initially said the Mitchell had been “alert and conscious” when he left the Walker County Jail for transport to a local hospital, but a video obtained by CBS 42 contradicted that statement.
Additionally, former corrections officer Karen Kelly filed a First Amendment lawsuit against both the sheriff and other personnel, arguing that she was fired in retaliation after she shared video that contradicted police statements about Mitchell’s condition.
On Thursday, Attorney Edward R. Jackson released the following statement on behalf of the Walker County Sheriff’s Office:
On January 26, 2023, Anthony Mitchell, a person housed at the Walker County Jail in Jasper, Alabama, died after being taken to Walker Baptist Medical Center.
As is routine, the Walker County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) immediately contacted the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) to investigate and independently determine the facts surrounding Mr. Mitchell’s death. This investigation is in its early stages and is expected to continue for some time. The WCSO is cooperating fully with this investigation.
In order to present a fact driven response, the WCSO will await the conclusion of the SBI investigation. Additional comments will be made once a complete and thorough investigation has been conducted. The WCSO offers and extends its condolences to the family of Mr. Mitchell and asks for your support and patience for the men and women of the WCSO.
The attorney general’s office says they will “ensure that any appropriate action is taken” after the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and FBI complete their investigation.