http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/28/jamycheal-mitchell-virginia-jail-found-dead

Young black man jailed since April for alleged $5 theft found dead in cell

Mitchell’s family said they believed he starved to death after refusing meals and medication at the jail, where he was being held on misdemeanour charges of petty larceny and trespassing. A clerk at Portsmouth district court said Mitchell was accused of stealing a bottle of Mountain Dew, a Snickers bar and a Zebra Cake worth a total of $5 from a 7-Eleven.

“His body failed,” said Roxanne Adams, Mitchell’s aunt. “It is extraordinary. The person I saw deceased was not even the same person.” Adams, who is a registered nurse, said Mitchell had practically no muscle mass left by the time of his death…

A few hours after Mitchell was arrested on 22 April by Portsmouth police officer L Schaefer for the alleged theft, William Chapman was shot dead by officer Stephen Rankin outside a Walmart superstore about 2.5 miles away in the same city. State prosecutor Stephanie Morales said on Thursday she would pursue criminal charges over Chapman’s death.

Except for a brief item stating that an inmate had been found dead, the story of Mitchell’s death has not been covered by local media in Virginia, and is reported for the first time here.

Adams said in an interview that her nephew had bipolar disorder and schizophrenia for about five years. Nicknamed Weezy, he lived with his mother Sonia and had been unable to hold down work. “He just chain-smoked and made people laugh,” said Adams. “He never did anything serious, never harmed anybody.” …

Adams said prison officials said her nephew had also been declining to eat. She said she saw Mitchell in court in recent weeks and estimated that he had lost 65 pounds since being detained. “He was extremely emaciated,” said Adams…

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