On February 11, 2019, Sade Myrie, 29, received a call from her husband Anthony Myrie, 24, then a Greene Correctional Facility inmate serving a seven-year sentence after being convicted of Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance (in the third degree). That day, as she chatted with her husband of over three years just as she had countless times before, Sade noticed an unusual air of concern from Anthony. “There’s nothing you can’t handle,” she said to him in passing, over the phone.
Not long after their call finished, Sade received a message from the family member of another inmate in the same facility saying that Anthony was taken to "the box,” or solitary confinement, after they spoke. When she called the state prison to learn exactly why her husband was being placed in solitary confinement, an undisclosed member of the institution attempted to refute the claims, saying Anthony was still in general population.
Later that same day, Sade received a call from the state prison reporting that Anthony — or “Trey” as he was affectionately called — was in critical condition. With no time to process the news or to make sense of what could have transpired between the hours of approximately 12 noon and 5 o’clock in the evening, Sade called Albany Medical Center to speak to someone responsible for her husband.
“Someone at the jail gave me the number to the Albany hospital,” Sade tells BET in an exclusive interview via phone on Friday (Feb. 15). “When I called [the hospital], there was no record of my husband. Not with register or security. There was no record of his body.” Within the hour and after calling around to other local hospitals in attempt to locate her husband, Sade received a call-back from Greene Correctional Facility saying her husband was pronounced dead at Albany Medical Center, the same hospital that just previously couldn’t confirm any record of Anthony Myrie’s body.
“I don’t know anything except what the facility is now saying and what another inmate has said, and that is that [Anthony] was put in handcuffs and dragged by the floor before being thrown in the box,” says Sade, who was never contacted to identify her husband’s body.
According to attorney David J. Hernandez, an autopsy conducted by a Dr. Hubbard, who is retired but was contracted by the coroner's office, allegedly indicates no signs of outward physical trauma, but confirms Anthony’s lungs were filled with water and heart was enlarged. Until the toxicology results come back, Anthony’s cause of death remains undetermined.
It wasn’t until the afternoon of Feb. 15 — four days later — that Anthony’s body had finally arrived at Grace Funeral Chapels in his native Brooklyn. During those four days when Anthony’s body was unaccounted for, Hernandez relentlessly made phone calls and wrote letters to Greene Correctional Facility seeking answers, and was given the runaround instead.
“In the beginning, the story was very contradictory. They were saying one thing, then another. Or one person would say one thing, then another person would say another,” Hernandez explains to BET over the phone. “So when I spoke with someone at the correctional facility, they would transfer me from one person to the other. Eventually [Deacon Steven Young] called and advised Sade about certain facts I had already obtained from the coroner’s office.”
The story, according to Greene Correctional Facility, is that there was an altercation among inmates that Anthony interceded to try and stop. “He stepped in to try and stop them from fighting, and from there, the correctional officers were coming down to separate them and put them all in segregation, which you know is the SHU or the box,” says Hernandez, relaying what Mr. Young had disclosed to him.
“All of a sudden, I’m told that Anthony out of nowhere starts to complain about having chest pains,” Hernandez adds. “Now, I don’t know Anthony and I don’t know his medical history, but his family says he has no history of heart problems and so forth. So he complains to the correctional officers of chest pains – this is what they are telling me – yet there’s this altercation and no trauma to the body at all, which sounds unusual given that inmates allege he was carried away in handcuffs.”
Anthony was roughly 6’4 in stature and weighed a little over 300 pounds. “He’s not a small body, and they handcuffed him, so I can imagine that even walking him, they weren’t doing it kindly. There should have been evidence of some physical activity, no matter how minimal,” Hernandez adds.
Because he complained of chest pains, the facility alleges that they started to help him out by calling the ambulance, where he was given medical treatment on the way to Albany Medical Center, the place he was eventually pronounced dead. “The hospital I think they said is about 20-30 minutes away from the jail,” Hernandez recalls.
“At this point, the interesting thing is, assuming all these statements are accurate, what was the big deal to tell the family the day of?” Hernandez questions. “If this is what really happened, it would have made perfect sense to say it, instead of giving the family the runaround, as they did with me the following day.”
The facility alleged that Anthony was assumed to be a part of the incident by virtue of proximity when the altercation happened, which is why he was placed in solitary confinement. However, several inmates shared with their families a conflicting account.
"There are a lot of inmates that have called their family members and those family members have called Sade to say that Anthony was in handcuffs, that he was beat up and that he was dragged through the facility,” Hernandez discloses.
Hernandez learned that the state police took photographs of the body, while Dr. Hubbard – the retiree who conducted the autopsy – did not: “He was willing to give me the autopsy report, but he did not provide me with photographs of the body, because he didn’t take any… how difficult is it to take photographs?” Hernandez has retained an independent doctor to perform another autopsy on Saturday (Feb. 16).
While the family continues to grieve, Hernandez’s next step is to contact the state police, subpoena whatever documents he can, file all the appropriate papers and speak to politicians to commence action. According to Hernandez and to other inmates’ families, Greene Correctional Facility is known for its abusive behavior toward inmates.
“The state police are not just going to willy-nilly turn anything over to me,” Hernandez commented on pursuing images and other documents concerning Anthony’s death. “I’m going to have to go through process to get it, because they seem to be investigating Anthony’s death as well as the death of another inmate that died two months ago, I believe, under suspicious circumstances at Greene.”
The inmate Hernandez speaks of was Delmus Tanner Jr., who died last November in his cell, reportedly of “strangulation by another.”
News of Anthony Myrie’s questionable death surfaced when an Instagram member under the handle @spazz_out_616 published a post with Anthony’s image alongside a lengthy caption that detailed what allegedly lead up to his death. The post was almost immediately shared by New York rappers Mysonne and Cardi B.
“GREENCORRECTIONAL FACILITY YOU NOT FUCKING GETTING AWAY WITH THIS ONE BITCH!!I remember when I went to visit someone in Green and I couldn’t stop crying cause the C.O beat they face up so bad boy had a black eye for months !! And the shit is ya been doing it FOR YEARS AND BEEN GETTING AWAY WITH IT FOR FUCKIN YEARS !!!!If you from Ny and ya have love ones incarcerated ya know about Greens and the mistreatments of inmate !” Cardi B stated on her personal page.
Others, chimed in under the Grammy-winning rapper’s post with their personal stories of Greene Correctional Facility and the legacy of their abuse toward inmates.
“I pray every day my brother come home safe and that I never receive that call,” writes @ricanphatbeauty. “It's always a fear in the back of my mind. He has been severely attacked 2 times by these mf. He is suing them and we reported to Albany they gave no fucks. These men don't deserve this abuse of power. These correctional officers ain't nothing but some paid baby sitters who act like they above the law. This needs to stop.”
“My son is in that facility.im so scared for him.i haven't heard from him.i think they got jail shut down .my son told me about this😪😪😪😪,” says @corinneforeveryourlady.
Amid the scandal and mystery, Sade hopes Anthony will be remembered not only as another victim of a corrupt correctional institution, but as a human being. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Anthony Myrie is survived by his wife Sade Myrie and three kids. He is described by his family as someone who was deeply loved, very funny and incredibly caring.
“If anything, he was a very humble person,” Sade goes on to say of Anthony, who is also characterized as a loving father. “He just wanted to do his time and come back home to his family. If it were up to him, he’d be on the phone with me all day. He was a good person. He was just serving his time, trying to come back home.”
When asked what she hopes to walk away with from this tragedy, Sade says: “I want to know what happened to my husband. Who was there at the fight, when they took him away? Who gave him CPR? Who brought him to the hospital? Who was responsible for him? I want to know what happened to my husband.”
For Hernandez, Anthony Myrie’s case remains an ongoing investigation under the thumb of a profoundly corrupt system. In the interest of exhausting all efforts and resources, he plans to send a private investigator to Greene Correctional Facility and hopefully speak with some of the inmates. While he and Anthony’s family wait on the toxicology report and final results of a second autopsy, Hernandez holds to his suspicion of foul play.
“I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I’m an adult and I’m an attorney. I’ve been speaking to tens of thousands of people for decades. When you contact a group, an agency, and you speak to a number of people who all of a sudden are not available and simple questions cannot be answered, it just doesn’t sound kosher,” Hernandez maintains. “To me it sounds like a cover up, and that’s all I’ll say.”
While Greene Correctional Facility today announces Anthony's cause of death "appears to be consistent with sudden cardiac arrest," Hernandez confirms with BET that "there’s no definitive cause of death—yet." Sade also maintains Anthony was a healthy person, who worked out regularly.
To help the Myrie family raise funds for funeral and related costs, visit here.
BET reached out to Greene Correctional Facility on Thursday (Feb. 14), to speak to a corrections officer that could comment on the incident concerning Anthony Myrie. What they offered was the following general public statement:
Following an incident involving several incarcerated individuals at Greene Correctional Facility, inmate Anthony Myrie (DOB 03/06/1994) was pronounced dead on 2/11/2019 at Albany Medical Center in Albany, New York. Myrie was serving a 7 year sentence after being convicted of Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd. The crime was committed in New York County. Myrie was received into DOCCS custody on 11/15/2018. Official cause of death will be determined and released by the Albany County Medical Examiner's Office pursuant to County Law §671 and §674, which state coroners and medical examiners determine cause of death. County Law §677 leaves it to coroners and medical examiners to determine if and to whom results will be released. The investigation into the incident is ongoing and the Department has no further comment.
(Photo: Provided by family of Anthony Myrie)