Activists are calling for a private autopsy after a 53-year old man was found dead inside a county jail in Philadelphia, Mississippi on July 14th.
On July 9th Rexdale W. Henry, a community activist and member of the Choctaw Nation, was arrested and taken to the Neshoba County Jail in Philadelphia, Miss for failing to pay a fine. WTOK reports that he was found dead on July 14th around 10 a.m.. He had been seen alive only 30 minutes earlier.
The State crime lab in Jackson, Mississippi conducted the original autopsy but now Henry’s friends and family are calling for a private autopsy, according to Jackson Free Press. After his funeral on July 19th his body was flown to Florida for a private autopsy. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is said to be looking into the case.
Rexdale Henry recently ran for the Choctaw Tribal Council from Bogue Chitto. His case will now be handled by civil-rights activists John Steel and Diane Nash, cofounder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The case will also receive support from Syracuse University law professors Janis McDonald and Paula Johnson of the school’s Cold Case Justice Initiative.
John Steele told the Jackson Free Press that his family is awaiting the results of two autopsies. “His fines shouldn’t have lead to his death. It couldn’t have been that bad,” Steele told the Jackson Free Press. The autopsy results will be released to the public once they are completed.
In November 2014, Michael Deangelo McDougle was also found dead in the Neshoba County Jail. The death of Henry is sparking outrage following a similar death involving activist Sandra Bland in Texas.