Newly released footage from October 5, 2022, at 201 Poplar, depicts the confrontation that led to Gershun Freeman’s death.
The district attorney’s office in Nashville provided FOX13 with the incident’s video.
Reports from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation indicate that an inmate at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center on Poplar Avenue passed away (TBI).
The approximately 14-minute video begins with the jail officers delivering food to the detainees’ cells. As Freeman’s cell door is opened, the 33-year-old is seen running full speed toward two deputy jailers, hitting them in the face.
All of a sudden, those correctional officers start punching Freeman. As the deputy jailers continue to stick Freeman, he swiftly goes to the ground. When Freeman struggles to stand up, more guards rush in and start pounding him.
Freeman can be seen crawling on the corridor floor outside his cell, and at one point, a correctional officer approaches and grabs his feet.
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Many correction officers are seen being grabbed and pushed back by their coworkers, but by this time, the camera angle has changed, and Freeman is no longer in view. Freeman re-enters the screen, clutching to the leg of a corrections officer, before rising to his feet and sprinting down the hall while cops spray him with an unidentified chemical agent.
Eventually, Freeman disappears from the camera’s vision and reappears, hanging on a corrections officer’s leg. Another corrections officer is kicking Freeman. From another perspective, we see Freeman clinging to the legs of a corrections officer until the latter shakes him loose. Freeman stands up and exits the screen.
The next time we see Freeman, he is on an escalator on the fourth floor of 201 Poplar, bound for the building’s fifth and final level. After what seems like swatting a corrections officer, Freeman gets knocked to the ground by another officer. Then, two more police officers from the corrections department arrive.
Freeman has been handcuffed behind his back and appears subdued by the three officers currently on him. Officers then kept Freeman on the ground for several minutes, kneeling on his back with his hands tied behind his back.
Freeman shows no signs of moving throughout this time. The corrections officers try to help Freeman to his feet, but he seems weak and slumps over as they do so. At the 12-minute mark of the film, Freeman, still crouched over on his knees, falls backward, face first, onto the floor.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Freeman, 33, passed while incarcerated (TBI).
For reasons that include “exacerbation of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease due to a physical altercation and subdual,” Freeman’s death was classified as a homicide.
The 33-year-old was detained on September 29, 2022, with allegations of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault. When police arrived at the U-Haul location on Austin Peay Highway, they said Freeman punched a woman many times in the face and threatened to murder her.
#GershunFreeman is Popularly viral on Twitter. Visit and check all related tweets.
STORY: #GershunFreeman’s autopsy results were released last week, labeling his cause of death as homicide. His family says he was brutally assaulted by jailers/deputies in the Shelby County Jail.
— Kayla Solomon (@KSolomonReports) February 17, 2023
⚠️ GRAPHIC CONTENT ⚠️
Newly released video of correction officers at Shelby County Jail BEATING Gershun Freeman to death. At least TEN officers brutalized Freeman while he was naked and suffering from a mental health crisis! pic.twitter.com/C3ccV2w9YQ
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) March 3, 2023
To be crystal clear, #GershunFreeman died "due to" a physical altercation. Not just "after sustaining injuries during…"
— Josh Spickler (@joshspickler) February 10, 2023
🚨SHOCKING NEW VIDEO: Shelby County Sheriff Deputies (@ShelbyTNSheriff) in Memphis, Tennessee are caught on jail surveillance BEATING TO DEATH inmate “Gershun Freeman”, who was NAKED and suffering from a MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS. #MentalHealthIsNotACrime #GershunFreeman… https://t.co/wg2IfN4PQP pic.twitter.com/w10E1AUrEj
— Sir Maejor For Congress 🇺🇸 (@Maejor4Congress) March 3, 2023
After Freeman’s death, his loved ones claimed they were given few explanations. George Burks, Freeman’s father, expressed his frustration with the lack of communication from authorities to the family in an interview with FOX13 after his son’s death. I needed to get up and visit the mortuary to learn the truth.
Freeman’s wife, Nicole Freeman, shares this view. “Everything we know up to this point we had to figure out on our own,” Nicole Freeman stated following his death. Nothing at all is known.
A call at 1:30 a.m. on October 6 informed Nicole Freeman that something had happened to her husband, but she was not told what. Her husband’s death was only confirmed five hours later.
In a protest as recently as February 17, 2023, Freeman’s loved ones gathered outside of 201 Poplar.
Jessa Martin is the author of Nogmagazine, A professional in writing by day, and novelist by night, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.