The family and friends of Rexdale Henry, a Native American activist, are comparing his mysterious in-custody death in Mississippi to that of Sandra Bland, the black woman who died in a Texas jail, the Jackson Free Press reports.
“At a time when the nation is focused on the terrible circumstances of the brutal death of Sandra Bland, it is critical to expose the many ways in which black Americans, Native Americans and other minorities are being arrested for minor charges and end up dead in jail cells,” Syracuse University law professor Janis McDonald, who has been working with Henry’s family, told the news site.
Henry’s family has requested a private autopsy for the 53-year-old, much as Bland’s family requested their own independent autopsy after the 28-year-old woman’s death was ruled a suicide by state officials.
According to the Free Press, Henry’s body was found at Neshoba County Jail in Philadelphia, Miss., on July 14 at 10 a.m., about half an hour after he was last seen alive. The Mississippi crime lab in Jackson conducted an autopsy, and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is conducting a probe. Results for the state autopsy have not been released.
Henry, who was a member of the Choctaw tribe, was also a lifelong community activist and had been a candidate for the Choctaw Tribe Council from Bogue Chitto before his arrest for not paying a traffic fine.
Read more at the Jackson Free Press.