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Milwaukee Hotel Employees Fired After Death of Black Man Pinned to Ground

3 minute read

Several employees involved in the death of a Black man who was pinned to the ground outside a Hyatt Regency in Milwaukee have been fired, the company that manages the hotel said.

Family members of D'Vontaye Mitchell and their lawyers reviewed hotel surveillance video provided Wednesday by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office and described seeing Mitchell being chased inside the hotel by security guards and then dragged outside where he was beaten.

“The conduct we saw from several associates on June 30 violated our policies and procedures, and does not reflect our values as an organization or the behaviors we expect from our associates,” a spokesperson for Aimbridge Hospitality said in an email. "Following review of their actions, their employment has been terminated. We will continue our independent investigation and do everything we can to support law enforcement with their investigation into this tragic incident.”

The spokesperson did not say how many employees had been fired or what their positions were.

Mitchell, 43, was held down on his stomach outside the hotel, media outlets have reported. Police have said he entered the hotel, caused a disturbance and fought with the guards as they were escorting him out.

The medical examiner’s office has said the preliminary cause of death was homicide, but the cause remains under investigation. No one has been criminally charged so far.

The district attorney’s office said Wednesday that it and police investigators were awaiting full autopsy results and that the case was being reviewed as a homicide.

Funeral services for Mitchell were being held Thursday. The Rev. Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy.

Sharpton, a longtime activist and leader who serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, said those responsible for Mitchell's death have to face justice.

“The only difference between D'Vontaye and any of us is they didn't grab us, yet,” Sharpton said. “This man did nothing for what he got.”

It is unclear why Mitchell was at the hotel or what happened before the guards pinned him down.

DeAsia Harmon, Mitchell's widow, described what she saw on the surveillance videos as “disgusting.” Harmon said video showed a bleeding Mitchell being dragged outside the hotel.

"It makes me sick to my stomach,” Harmon said during a news conference Wednesday. “He ran for his life. He was trying to leave. He said ‘I’ll go,’ and they didn’t let him go.”

Noted civil rights attorney Ben Crump is part of the legal team representing Mitchell's family. Crump said Wednesday that they have a signed affidavit from a hotel employee who said a security guard was striking Mitchell with a baton and that Mitchell posed no threat when he was on the ground. The worker said a security guard ordered him and a bellman to help hold Mitchell down, Crump said.

Crump also represented the family of George Floyd, who was slain in May 2020 by a white police officer in Minneapolis. Floyd's death spurred worldwide protests against racial violence and police brutality.

Mitchell's death comes as Milwaukee is preparing for Monday's start of the Republican National Convention and amid heightened security concerns around political protests.

Correction, July 12

The original version of this story misspelled D'Vontaye Mitchell's first name. It is D'Vontaye, not Dvontaye.

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