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Lawsuits filed against the Walker County Sheriff’s Office


The Walker County Sheriff’s Office is facing several lawsuits after an inmate died in their custody last month.

Anthony “Tony” Mitchell, 33, was arrested Jan. 12 and charged with attempted murder after a chase in which WCSO deputies said he fired a gun at deputies. Mitchell was on the run from the authorities after a relative called police for a mental health check. Two weeks later, Mitchell was dead with an internal temperature of 72 degrees.

Mitchell’s family has filed a wrongful death suit, and a former WCSO employee has filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination after she released camera footage of Mitchell in custody and was fired.

Officials from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency released following statement.

“On Thursday, Jan. 26, at the request of the Walker County Sheriff’s Office, Special Agents with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s State Bureau of Investigation launched an in-custody death investigation that occurred at approximately 1 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 26, at Walker Baptist Hospital in Jasper. Anthony Don Mitchell, 33, of Carbon Hill, was arrested by the Walker County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, Jan. 12, and was being held in the Walker County Jail. Mitchell was transported to Walker Baptist Hospital for evaluation on Thursday morning and became unresponsive at the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. An autopsy will be conducted by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. Nothing further is available as the investigation remains ongoing. Once complete, the findings will be turned over to the Walker County District Attorney’s Office.

Mitchell’s family is now suing the Walker County Sheriff’s Office. The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Walker County Sheriff Nick Smith, jail staff, a nurse practitioner and an investigator.

Jon Goldfarb is the family’s attorney, and he released a video recorded inside the county jail by a former employee that the family says contradicts the statement made by ALEA of behalf of the Walker County Sheriff’s Office.

The video depicts Mitchell being carried out by deputies and put in the back of a patrol car before he was taken to the Walker Baptist Medical Center. The sheriff’s office said Mitchell was having a medical issue, but was alert and responsive when he left the jail. In the video, Mitchell appears unresponsive as officers carry him.

According to the lawsuit, a medical examiner suggested Mitchell’s cause of death is hypothermia, meaning he froze to death.

Karen Kelly, the corrections officer who took the video, is suing WCSO for wrongful termination after she released the video. Kelly is also being represented by Goldfarb.

The lawsuit states Kelly was concerned the video would be deleted or recorded over at the sheriff’s office, and that’s why she made her own recording in a whistleblower capacity.

The sheriff’s office has not commented on the lawsuits.

Mitchell’s death is being investigated by ALEA and the FBI.

Meanwhile, protestors are calling for the sheriff to be fired. An online petition called Justice for Anthony Mitchell  has nearly 2,500 signatures.

Categories: Crime, Local News