The brother of an Akron, Ohio, teen who died in police custody is searching for the truth after learning that the young boy somehow shot himself in the head while seated in the back of a police car with his hands handcuffed behind his back.
Greg Wiley, 29, says that he is still left numb four days after 17-year-old Xavier McMullen supposedly killed himself, and at this point, he just wants the truth, Cleveland.com reports.
Xavier died Friday night while in the custody of Akron police. He had been arrested earlier that evening in connection with a robbery and shot himself in the head while sitting in the back of a patrol car, the Summit County Medical Examiner ruled Monday.
Wiley says he is struggling to understand how that actually happened, since police said that his baby brother’s hands were handcuffed behind his back at the time he supposedly shot himself.
“I don’t believe he killed himself. I can’t,” Wiley said. “But maybe, if he had a gun on him, he was trying to get it off of him, and while wiggling and struggling, the trigger pulled. I’d understand a gunshot wound to his back, stomach, something like that. But not the head—how is that possible?”
Wiley said that his brother was always the one who managed to make friends and family smile, and that their home life was never a hard one, making it hard for Wiley to believe that suicide was an explanation for his brother’s death.
“Why wasn’t he patted down properly?” Wiley asked several times during an interview. “The cops did not do their job. I feel the cops took my brother.
“That’s not fair to us as a family,” Wiley said in response to the department’s actions. “A badge does not make you better than the rest of us.”
According to the news site, Akron Police Capt. Jesse Lesser would not say whether Xavier was searched for weapons before he was put in the police cruiser.
“It all depends on the circumstances,” Lesser said. “It’s hard just to say, ‘Every time, you do it this way.’ It’s a rapidly evolving situation.”
Currently, none of the six officers who were on the scene at the time of Xavier’s death have been placed on administrative leave. However, his death remains under investigation.
“Enough violence is going on around us. We want the real truth,” Wiley said. “Someone needs to pay the consequences. There needs to be justice.”
Read more at Cleveland.com.