The family of Tory Sanders, a Black man who died in a Missouri jail after being pinned to the ground for several minutes by the knee of a white sheriff, has been offered a $2.5 million settlement. However, the family lawyer said a settlement is not pending.
Sanders, 28, a Nashville resident, died in the Mississippi County Jail in Missouri under circumstances similar to that of George Floyd. However, Sanders’ death occurred three years before the videotaped killing that rocked the nation.
In early April, the city of Charleston, Missouri, about 130 miles from St. Louis, agreed to pay Sanders’ family $500,000. Lawyers for former sheriff Cory Hutcheson and Mississippi County Jail employees have asked a judge to require that the family accept $2 million to settle the case.
The lawyer for the Sanders’ family says county lawyers changed their deal by adding Hutcheson. This move means the county can avoid paying another $1.5 million from a second county insurance policy.
Lost on His Way to Memphis
Sanders suffered from mental health issues. In May 2017, he got lost on his way to Memphis and wound up at a Charleston truck stop. Because the police did not have staff on hand to take him to the hospital for an evaluation, Sanders was taken to jail instead.
A mental health counselor at the jail determined Sanders was suffering from paranoia.
Hutcheson and nine other people eventually went into Sanders’ cell to try to subdue him. They beat him and shocked him with a stun gun. Sanders was also pepper-sprayed and tackled. At some point, Hutcheson pressed his knee into Sanders’ neck, holding it for about three minutes. He ignored a police officer’s plea to stop. Sanders lost consciousness and died.
The medical examiner’s office called Sanders’ death a result of “excited delirium,” not from having the sheriff place the knee on his neck or any of the other means used to subdue him.
No Charges Filed
Although an investigation of Sanders’ death was conducted by the state’s current and former Attorneys General, no charges were filed. In February 2021, current Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced there was insufficient evidence to file first or second-degree murder charges against Hutcheson.
According to Schmitt, because the three-year statute of limitations for manslaughter in Missouri had passed, it was not possible to charge Hutcheson with this crime.
Sander’s mother, Quinta Sanders, said Schmitt lacked the courage to file murder charges. “My son did not die of excited delirium,” said his mother. “He was murdered, and the Attorney General does not want to press charges.”
In April 2019, Hutcheson was sentenced to six months in federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud and identity theft in an unrelated case. Hutcheson allegedly used fraudulent means to track the whereabouts of 200 cellphone users. Those users included a former sheriff and a judge. He had initially been charged with 28 federal counts. His resignation after pleading guilty means he is unable to work in law enforcement.
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