Black Soldier Tells Police 'I Can't Breathe' 20 Times Before Dying

Black Soldier Tells Police 'I Can't Breathe' 20 Times Before Dying

His final moments were caught on tape; mom pleads for Americans to watch, laws to change.

Published May 16, 2015

A newly released video obtained by KFOX14 reveals the final dying moments of an African-American active-duty soldier, Sgt. James Brown, who died after checking himself into the El Paso, Texas county jail nearly three years ago.

Sgt. Brown reported to prison for a two-day sentence for driving while intoxicated. According to his family, Brown informed the facility's officials that he had a history of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following two combat tours in Iraq.

KFOX14 reports that the family clawed their way to the Texas attorney general to attain the footage of the 2012 incident. After viewing the video, it can be seen that something was happening in Brown's cell to cause him to bleed. After he refused to speak with the guard about what was going on, a team in riot gear charged into Brown's cell and plummeted on top of him. Despite him constantly saying "I can't breathe," the team showed no mercy. He was, soon after, carried to an infirmary, still alive, where a mask was placed over his face by guards.

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Closer towards the end of the clip, it can be seen that, after Brown repeated that he can't breathe at least 20 more times, his condition had notoceably deteriorated. He was left naked in a cell, not blinking or responding in any manner. His breathing was also very faint. According to attorneys, an ambulance was never called.

Brown was eventually taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Though authorities claim that he died from "natural causes" after an autopsy report cited a "sickle cell crisis," his family is certain that he died due to his inhumane treatment while in jail.

Brown's mother, Dinetta Robinson-Scott, recently released a statement to the station. "I pray that new laws protecting soldiers in custody will be implemented, that the military adopt new policy procedures in regards to their soldiers being held in custody by an outside agency," it reads. "If these changes can be made and our soldiers are protected, and another family never has to experience what my family has, then my son's death would not [have] been in vain."

Robinson-Scott also pleaded for everyone to view the video as she wants Americans to see exactly what happened to her son in the El Paso County Detention Center.

Sgt. James Brown's family is suing for damages, claiming violation of the American With Civil Liberties Act due to Brown's PTSD, excessive force, and lack of proper medical attention.

Watch the disturbing video below, at your own risk. 

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(Photo: DemocracyNow.org)

Written by Moriba Cummings

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