Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid released a video Thursday showing officers with shields and masks subduing and using a stun gun on Natasha McKenna in prison. The attack eventually led to the death of the mentally ill Virginia woman.
McKenna was arrested for assaulting a police officer on Jan. 26. On Feb. 3, she was shocked four times while she was restrained by several officers at Fairfax County Adult Detention Center in Virginia. She stopped breathing minutes later and was transported to a hospital. She died five days later.
“There is no better way for me to share what actually occurred than to make this video available to view for the community in its entirety,” Kincaid said at the start of the 48-minute video (you can see the full video here). The problem is the video’s gone viral and many people think the video shows brutality on the part of the officers.
“You promised me you wouldn’t kill me. I didn’t do anything,” McKenna says in the video before being held down by several officers who accuse her of throwing feces and urine in her cell. She’s naked as they push her down.
The officers, dressed in biohazard suits, can be heard saying “stop resisting” and “hold still” several times but it’s arguable whether or not the footage shows her resisting or not holding still. About 38 minutes into the recording, she loses consciousness.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fairfax County, Raymond F. Morrogh, went on record as saying the death was “tragic” earlier this week but concluded that the officers involved were justified in their use of force and wouldn’t be charged.
“It is my legal opinion that there is not probable cause, much less proof beyond a reasonable doubt, that anyone involved in this case committed a crime,” Morrogh wrote. It was Ms. McKenna’s severe mental illness, coupled with the tremendous physical exertion she put forth over an extended period of time struggling with deputies, that resulted in a cascade of lethal chemical reactions inside her body.”
The investigation into the officers’ tactics ended without them being charged for McKenna’s death.
We want to hear what you think about this incident. Does she seem to be fighting? Were the officers’ actions justified? Or, should they be held accountable for McKenna’s death?