A 35-year-old African-American inmate at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York City, died after being pepper-sprayed by prison guards on Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.
Officers at the detention facility responded to inmate Jamel Floyd's cell at about 10 a.m. on Wednesday after reports of disruptive behavior. Floyd barricaded himself inside and started breaking his cell-door using a metal object.
According to the statement, as he became "increasingly disruptive and potentially harmful to himself and others" officers proceeded to pepper-spray Floyd in an attempt to subdue him and remove him from his cell.
Floyd lost consciousness after being pepper-sprayed and after medical staff tried to "assess the inmate" and found him to be unresponsive. The medical staff then tried to resuscitate him before he was rushed to the NYU Langone Hospital in Brooklyn, where the hospital staff pronounced him dead. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Cause of Death
The cause of his death is not yet known but sources claim Floyd suffered a heart attack brought on by the use of the lachrymatory agent on him. Floyd was in custody at the detention facility since October 2019, though it is not yet clear on what charges. However, his prior records show he was last held in a state prison for burglary, tampering with evidence and endangering the welfare of a child.
Social Media Outrage
Floyd's death has sparked outrage on social media that is still reeling from the death of George Floyd, another African-American man who was killed after a Minneapolis police officer pinned him down with his knee over his neck. His death prompted swarms of protesters to take the streets across the country and express their anger over police brutality.
#JamelFloyd started trending on Twitter with some users referring to Jamal's death as "murder" and "torture," while others called for protests outside the facility and accused law enforcement of racism.
"Another man MURDERED by this corrupt racist system. His name was #JamelFloyd. Show up tomorrow at 5pm at Sunset Park in Brooklyn to march to MDC Prison," tweeted one user, while another wrote "They thought he might hurt himself so they killed him in an excruciating manner. The worst."
"If you think the cops are aggressive when being filmed outside.. imagine what it's like for anyone whose [sic] in jail behind closed doors," commented @SaraBearKing. "These cops can kill and torture humans as they please. The system is f----d. #JamelFloyd killed by cops. Unfair !!!"
Here are some of the other reactions on Twitter: