NAACP wants state to review Mackey death

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Late breaking developments today in the case of a man who died two days after an incident inside the Luzerne County Prison.

Luzerne County officials confirm they are in the process of looking at options that would result in an independent review of the Shaheen Mackey case.
Questions have been raised by his family and others regarding the circumstances that led to his death.

Luzerne County Manager Dave Pedri tells Eyewitness News this is all about transparency and removing any questions about Mackey’s death.

41-year-old Shaheen Mackey was brought to the Luzerne County Prison on the afternoon of June 6, 2018. He was at the prison for about five hours. During that time an incident took place in which Mackey had to be restrained.

Mackey became unresponsive. C.P.R was performed on him inside the prison and he was rushed to a hospital. He died two days later. A forensic pathologist ruled he died from natural causes. And the Luzerne County District Attorney’s office conducted an investigations and cleared the corrections officers of any wrongdoing.

In June of this year, the county reached a $3 million settlement with the Mackey family in the death. The family had filed a federal civil rights lawsuit suit arguing that Mackey suffered from a seizure disorder and instead of receiving medical attention, corrections officers used physical force to restrain him.

Last week the family released posted a 23-minute video clip of the incident on social media. Eyewitness News has been trying to obtain the full video recording..— which the family’s attorney and county officials tells us runs about an hour.

The family said it would release the video to us–as has their attorney. But we have not yet obtained the full video clip.

Last weekend a march was held near the prison and the courthouse. It was led by Mackey’s family. They are demanding answers about his death. The president of the NAACP reached out to the state attorney general asking for a state review of the case.

“This is horrific you know. I just couldn’t believe that so many people were standing around and offered this young man no assistance,” Wilkes-Barre NAACP President Ron Felton said.

A spokesperson for the state attorney general’s office released a statement to eyewitness news that read in part: “We reached out to the Wilkes-Barre NAACP immediately after receiving their email and share the view that the public deserves to know more about what happened to Shaheen Mackey. His life mattered. We are encouraged that Luzerne County is open to an outside review so that the public knows what measures are being taken to prevent future tragedies as well as answer fair and appropriate questions about Shaheen’s death.”

The statement goes on to say that under state law the attorney general cannot review a case unless a formal request is made by the district attorney. The D.A. Stefanie Salavanitis has said in the past that her detectives put in hundreds of hours investigating Mackey’s death and found no criminal wrong doing.

To read the statement from the Luzerne County District Attorney see below.

Pedri says he will have more details of the independent review tomorrow.

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