The death of a 20-year-old Mississippi trans woman has left a family shattered and pleading for unanswered details into her death, which has left them to accuse local police of severe human rights violations and abuse.
In September last year, Mississippi Free Press received a video purporting to show officers of the Gulfport Police Department tasing Kimbella (Raheem) Kimbell inside a local hospital. According to an investigative report from the publication, Kimbell was being treated for COVID-19 and had become confrontational, causing police to intervene.
“The video shows Kimbella fighting off three to four officers as they tase her several times before placing her in the prone position with their knees on her back and chest area,” the report reads. “Kimbella is heard on the video pleading with law enforcement officers, saying, “I can’t f— breathe.”
After the incident, Kimbell’s mother, Tijuana Kimbell, said her daughter was taken to Harrison County Detention Center and housed with male inmates. At the jail, she was involved in a physical altercation with another inmate, leading her to be placed in solitary confinement. She was found dead hours later.
Kimbell’s family subsequently held a peaceful protest denouncing the actions of the police department, which her family says inflicted “brutal treatment” against their loved one.
“I witnessed the pain and anguish on the faces of grieving family members as they mourned her loss,” the report’s author, Leo Carney, wrote. “I reached out to Lt. Robert Lincoln of the Harrison County Adult Detention Center for comment about the family’s allegations and have not received a response.”
The victim’s mother says the law enforcement officers at the jail were “not transparent” about how her daughter died and have had to raise almost $8,000 for a second autopsy. They are currently awaiting the results and are still “struggling to find answers [into] the cause of her death.”
To read the entire investigative report and learn more about the case, visit here.