The cousin of one of the Baton Rouge, La., law-enforcement officials killed in an apparent ambush was wrongfully arrested and allegedly denied his diabetes medicine after being deemed a suspect in the ambush, the Daily Beast reports.
Damarcus Alexander was out with a friend at a Wal-Mart July 17, buying a white shirt for church. The duo had left Dallas around 4 a.m. and were headed toward Belle Rose, La., where his friend was scheduled to sing at a church. They stopped at a Wal-Mart just outside of Baton Rouge, changed into church clothes and then continued driving.
As it happened, someone made a 911 call about two black men entering the store and changing clothes, which occurred shortly after authorities say Gavin Long shot six police officers nearby.
One of the three officers killed in the attack was actually Alexander's cousin, Montrell Jackson.
"He was my big cuz," Alexander told the Daily Beast. "He saved me from drowning once."
Alexander had not yet heard about what had happened to Jackson, but a few miles down the road, police stopped the car he was riding in with his friend and apprehended both men as persons of interests.
“‘Hey, you were just in the Wal-Mart changing, right?’” an officer asked them, Alexander said. “‘You know what just happened in Baton Rouge? We already got the guy who did it, but we think that he probably didn’t work alone, so we’re looking into you two.’”
According to the Beast, police said that the car the duo were in matched the description of Long's car at the scene, although it didn't.
Alexander had proof that there was no way he and his best friend could have been involved in the shooting. They had stopped at a gas station more than 100 miles west of Baton Rouge to buy coffee and snacks at 8:43 a.m.—three minutes after Long started shooting—and still had the receipt in a bag.
However, the officers still took them in as suspects.
Alexander told the Daily Beast that they were handcuffed and locked in the back of a police car without having their rights read.
“When we were detained, we asked for phone calls,” he said. “We were not given phone calls.”
Alexander said that they were intimidated into relinquishing their phones.
“They made us sign a consent form,” he said. According to the Daily Beast, when Alexander asked questions about giving up his phone, the officers began cursing at him. A plainclothes officer allegedly said, "If he wants to be a [d—k] about it, just put his ass back in the car," Alexander said, with the officers adding that Alexander would have to wait some four hours for a court order to search the phone.
Officers also allegedly forced Alexander's friend to pee in a bottle in the back of the police car.
The two friends were eventually taken to holding cells at a Louisiana State Police station in Baton Rouge. At that point, Alexander said, he informed officials that he was a diabetic and needed to take his medication.
"‘Get away from the door, little bitch,’" Alexander said one jailer yelled at his friend when he knocked on his cell door.
Instead of giving Alexander the needed medicine, officials called EMS, who just confirmed that his blood sugar was high and that he would need to take his medication soon.
Instead, Alexander said, "for hours, they’re bringing me cookies and peanuts and crackers and juice. … That’s the exact opposite of what I need."
He said that officers were worried that he was lying about the medication in order to commit suicide.
Hours later, Alexander said, he fell so ill—almost slipping into a coma—that he was taken to Baton Rouge General Hospital.
By that time, officers had finally gotten the footage that cleared the two friends, and released Alexander's friend from jail so that he could pick up Alexander from the hospital.
"I felt helpless," Alexander told the Daily Beast regarding his encounter in the holding cell. "I'm really thankful that I wasn't another hashtag."
Read more at the Daily Beast.