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Family of black man who died after being pinned down by hotel security officers is fighting criminal charges

The family of a black man who died when private security guards pinned him to the sidewalk outside a Wisconsin hotel are demanding criminal charges be brought against those responsible.

Dvontaye Mitchell’s death has been ruled a homicide by the coroner’s office, which said further investigation is ongoing. The 43-year-old’s mother said her son was in the midst of a mental episode when he was attacked by guards at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee on June 30, as he pleaded with them to let him go.

All of the guards have been suspended, Hyatt officials said in a statement. However, Milwaukee police said Tuesday they are not conducting a criminal investigation because there was no “blunt force” involved, but that an investigation into what happened is ongoing.

According to Hyatt security, the incident began after Mitchell allegedly entered the women’s restroom in the hotel lobby. Four security guards then forcibly led Mitchell to a ramp at the hotel entrance, and cellphone footage shows him kneeling on his back and neck, repeatedly apologizing and begging them to let him go. One guard hits Mitchell in the head with an unknown object, while another orders Mitchell to “stop fighting.”

According to civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who works with the Mitchell family, Mitchell was unconscious when police arrived. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Crump compared Mitchell’s death to that of George Floyd, a Black man who died in 2020 when Minneapolis police detained him and pinned him to the ground on suspicion of stuffing a counterfeit $20 bill into his pocket.

At a press conference on Tuesday Crump called for impeachment against Hyatt security guards, posting a video of him on Instagram with the caption, “We want #JusticeDvontayeMitchell! Why is (his) death, ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, not being investigated as a criminal offense?! The security personnel involved in Dvontaye’s…death need to be held accountable!”

At an earlier press conference on Monday, where reporters were shown footage of the shocking incident, Crump William Sulton’s co-counsel said“People, you’re watching a murder. That’s what you’re watching.”

In a statement released by his office, Crump called Mitchell’s death “deeply disturbing,” saying the family “is now left searching for answers and justice in the face of this tragic loss… It is unacceptable that this case is not being treated as a criminal investigation, despite the tragic outcome.”

Hyatt, for its part, said: “We extend our deepest condolences to the family of Dvontaye Mitchell, all who knew and loved him, and the Milwaukee community in light of this tragedy. Hyatt-branded franchised hotels are committed to adhering to Hyatt’s mandatory safety standards and ensuring that the hotel is a safe and secure environment for guests, associates and the public. As the investigation continues, Hyatt is fully committed to supporting efforts to ensure accountability for the circumstances that led to Dvontaye Mitchell’s death.”

Outrage over Mitchell’s death comes days before the Republican National Convention opens at Milwaukee’s Fiserve Arena, two blocks from the Hyatt Regency. GOP delegates will be in the city from July 15 to 18 for a nominating conference to confirm the party’s choice of former Oval Office occupant and recently convicted felon Donald Trump as its 2024 presidential candidate.

Crump and the Mitchell family are scheduled to hold another news conference Wednesday afternoon to “reveal significant new evidence from the witness,” according to Crump. The group will then hold a prayer vigil at the Hyatt Regency.

Mitchell’s funeral is scheduled for Thursday morning at Milwaukee’s Holy Redeemer Institutional Church Of God In Christ. Pastor Al Sharpton is expected to deliver the eulogy.