Stonewall, Miss. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is stepping in to investigate an incident in Clarke County where a man died after an altercation with a police officer.
Clarke Co. coroner Greg Fairchild confirms 39-year-old Jonathan Sanders died Wednesday night. Sanders' attorney, Stewart Parish, tells Newscenter 11 that Sanders was exercising his horses in Stonewall when Officer Kevin Herrington pulled him off and choked Sanders with a flashlight. Right now, Stonewall police say they can't release much information, but Chief Michael Street says an incident did happen between 10:30 and 11 p.m. when an officer encountered an individual.
"We can't really give out any particulars to it because it is an ongoing investigation. I can say that we've always had a good relation with the community, and we continue to do that," he says.
Sanders' girlfriend, Charita Kennedy, says Sanders had his horse buggy equipped with the proper lights and wasn't violating any laws. She says Sanders told the officer he could not breathe after he began choking him, and he died there on the scene. She says then Sanders was taken to the hospital where his family was not allowed to see him. Sanders was a father to two children, and Kennedy says she's devastated their one-year-old child will have to grow up without a father.
While the MBI is investigating, Chief Street is asking the citizens to remain calm and communicate with police.
"We just ask that the citizens allow that to take place, not to try to take anything out in the streets. Our door is open," he says.
Coroner Fairchild says Sanders' body has been taken to Jackson for an autopsy.