close
close

Black man’s death after Milwaukee hotel security guards pinned him to ground prompts family to call for charges

Black man’s death after Milwaukee hotel security guards pinned him to ground prompts family to call for charges

The family of a Black man who died after security guards pinned him to the ground outside a Milwaukee hotel is calling for criminal charges to be filed against the guards. Authorities are investigating the death of 43-year-old Dvontaye Mitchell outside the Hyatt Regency in downtown Milwaukee.

Cellphone video of the incident shows four guards holding Mitchell down on the hotel’s driveway on June 30. The guards are heard in the video telling Mitchell to “stay down” and “stop fighting.”

Shawn Moore told CBS News he witnessed part of the incident while walking to a nearby Walgreens to pick up some things for his son. He said he walked over to the hotel when he heard screaming.

“I heard the sounds of him being hit, and as I approached, this young lady started filming, and I watched as the security officer struck him with a flashlight or some object, and we stopped him from striking him, but they never got off of him,” Moore told CBS News on Wednesday.

In the cellphone video, one guard yells while facing the camera, “This is what happens when you go into the ladies’ room.”

“I’m sorry,” someone in the video says. It wasn’t clear if Mitchell was speaking.

Mitchell stopped screaming a few minutes after Moore arrived, he said. The four guards didn’t get off Mitchell until police officers got to the hotel, Moore said.

“One was holding his ankles, and you had the other three above the waist applying pressure holding him down,” Moore said.

Moore thought he heard an officer say Mitchell still had a pulse.

“I was good with that, but then he started the compressions and the CPR, and you can hear me on the video saying that they killed him,” Moore said.

Moore gave Mitchell’s family some videos he took of the incident. He wishes he could have done something to help Mitchell.

“How can you look into the future and say, ‘Well, they’re going to kill him, no, he’s not going to to make it,'” Moore said. “I never thought that I was witnessing a murder.”

Milwaukee police told CBS News that an individual caused a disturbance inside a business and fought with security guards while being led outside.

“Security detained the individual until police arrived,” police said in a statement. “Upon arrival, the individual was unresponsive and despite lifesaving measures, the 43-year-old individual was pronounced deceased.”

Dvontaye Mitchell is seen in a picture provided to CBS Milwaukee affiliate WDJT-TV.

The medical examiner’s office made a preliminary determination that Mitchell’s death was a homicide but more tests were being conducted, according to CBS affiliate WDJT-TV.

The Milwaukee County district attorney’s office is reviewing Mitchell’s death and gave an attorney representing Mitchell’s family, Will Sulton, an update on the investigation Wednesday, according to a statement from the DA’s office. Prosecutors said they’re waiting for the full results of Mitchell’s autopsy.

“The autopsy results will inform the ongoing police investigation into Mr. Mitchell’s death and allow our office to comprehensively evaluate the actions leading up to Mr. Mitchell’s death from the perspective of potential criminal liability,” the statement said. “All aspects of these actions, including Mr Mitchell’s death and the use of force by hotel personnel, will be closely examined.”

Mitchell’s mother Brenda Giles believes her son was suffering from a “mental health episode,” according to a statement from the law firm of attorney Ben Crump, who’s also representing the family.

“They took his life,” Mitchell’s wife DeAsia Harmon told reporters Monday during a news conference. “They murdered my husband.”

Crump compared the guards’ actions to the 2020 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

“When you look at what happens on this video, it screams out for there to be accountability, for there to be charges brought against the killers of Dvontaye Mitchell,” Crump told reporters.

A Hyatt spokesperson told CBS News the hotel is franchised by Aimbridge Hospitality and that the company suspended its employees involved in the incident. The spokesperson called the incident a tragedy.

“As the investigation continues, Hyatt is fully committed to supporting efforts to help ensure accountability for the circumstances that led to the death of Dvontaye Mitchell,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

An Aimbridge spokesperson offered their condolences to Mitchell’s family and loved ones in a statement to CBS News.

“We continue to do everything we can to support law enforcement’s ongoing investigation into this incident and have no further comment at this time,” the spokesperson said.