DC Man Died in Jail Hours Just after Weed Arrest, Now Activists Want Answers

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Washington DC voters legalized recreational marijuana back in 2014, the exact same year that Colorado and Washington State did. But the US Congress, which wields ultimate oversight more than DC’s laws, will not enable residents to sell marijuana. The federal government’s intrusion into DC’s laws led to the September 30th arrest of Jamaal Byrd, an African-American who was allegedly promoting weed at a restaurant.

When Byrd awaited his trial, police kept him confined at the District’s Central Cell Block, positioned in the basement of the DC Police Department’s Headquarters. On October 1st, guards found Byrd unconscious. They administered very first help and CPR, but he was unresponsive. Corrections officials pronounced him dead at 1:15 a.m. — just seven hours following he was arrested.

A DC Division of Corrections spokesperson stated on Friday that officials are nonetheless investigating Byrd’s death, but it is been virtually two months considering that he died. His family members desires answers, and they’ve got the activist organization Black Lives Matter fighting on their side.

“We want answers. My son was in fantastic wellness. What occurred to bring about his death though in the custody of the DC Division of Corrections?” his mother wrote in a statement, the Washington Post reported. “Nothing will bring my son back — but I am demanding to know what occurred to my son! He meant the planet to me and my family members,” his mother stated.

According to a statement released late final month by Black Lives Matter’s core DC organizer, April Goggans, Byrd was on his way to a job education system when he was arrested. And it appears insanely unjust that anybody could be arrested for promoting one thing that the voters of DC have deemed somewhat harmless at the district’s personal polls. Jail, following all, is hardly ever a type location, and really should only be reserved for these who are a danger to themselves or to the public.

Black Lives Matter DC is “demanding public transparency and accountability,” as nicely as an “instant, expeditious, and complete assessment” into Byrd’s death, Atlanta Black Star reported.

DC police have been steadily busting so-named weed pop-ups and sellers in spite of the district’s legalization initiative passed 5 years ago. Information shows that black Americans, like Byrd, make up 86 % of DC’s marijuana arrests, even even though African-Americans only make up 47 % of DC’s population, and research show white and black Americans consume cannabis at equal prices

Time is operating out for the cops to milk pot prohibition for effortless arrests, since it is beginning to appear like their major bosses on Capitol Hill might legalize weed at the federal level sometime in the not-so-distant future.

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