By Matt Agorist
Stockton, CA — Shayne Sutherland was a father of two, a peewee football coach, and worked at the local union. He also had mental health issues and struggled with substance abuse. On October 8, 2020, Sutherland would die in need of help for his mental health issues after receiving police force instead. Now, Sutherland’s family has learned that the officers who killed him will not be held accountable.
On Thursday, Karen Sutherland, Shayne’s mother was told by the San Joaquin County District Attorney that the officers who killed Shayne will not be held accountable. Karen put the information out on the Justice For Shayne Sutherland Instagram page:
I received news today that the San Joaquin County District Attorney, Ron Freitas has decided NOT to prosecute the Stockton Police officers that killed Shayne. This is a slap in our faces as we know the truth.
This is more proof that the District Attorney should not have their hands in anything police involved as it’s a CONFLICT OF INTEREST. They all hang out, do events together and Ron Freitas is a former prosecutor and obviously has that cop mentality. He is corrupt as he has proven by not charging Ron Zalunardo and John Afanasiev for suffocating my unarmed, proned, and handcuffed son to death as he begged for his life and called out for me.
We are not done so don’t worry. Next stop is the Attorney general. We will be asking him to open Shayne’s case and investigate and hopefully he will do what Ron Freitas and his crew have FAILED to do. Please keep my family in your prayers as this is really hard to take knowing those responsible for the death of our loved one are walking free and free to do this to others.
Ronald Zalunardo and John Afanasiev, the Stockton police officers who murdered Karen’s son, will get away with it.
As we reported at the the time in 2020, what started as a disturbance inside a convenience store quickly morphed into an in-custody death. That night, Sutherland was in the midst of a mental health crisis. He had harmed no one, but according to the store employee, he was waving around a bottle of wine, saying he was going to throw it. He never threw it.
Illustrating the severity of Sutherland’s crisis, he was the one who initially called 911. When he called police, he asked them to send a taxi to the store, claiming someone had robbed him.
When police showed up, Sutherland was entirely compliant, doing everything police asked and cooperating with them to the fullest extent. He even admitted to having a drug problem and that he had “used cocaine” earlier that day.
The officers offered no help and instead belittled and made fun of him for several minutes. As they were verbally berating him, for some reason Sutherland stood up and then immediately realized that was a mistake, saying “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
Thinking he was a threat, police threw the father of two to the ground and handcuffed him as Sutherland began to panic. For several minutes Sutherland begged for his life, saying “Please let me breathe” and telling police they were killing him.
Sadly, he was right. Moments later, after having police on top of him squeezing the air from his lungs, Sutherland became unresponsive, stopped breathing, and died.
TFTP spoke to Karen at the time, who told us that the “official” police story of what authorities told her was not true and the body-camera footage proves it.
“The cops lied to me and told me my son stood up, collapsed, and stopped breathing and denied any physical contact with my son,” she told TFTP in an exclusive interview.
It is entirely clear from the video that Sutherland did not collapse and instead was tackled to the ground and held down. In fact, when Sutherland started struggling, one officer gestures to the other and tells him to ease up because Sutherland was “turning colors.”
“They had him down on the ground in cuffs, and the officer was laying on him with his arm over pressing into my son’s neck while my son was begging for his life and telling them they were killing him,” she said, adding, “my son admitted to drug use but had no weapon.”
Indeed, Sutherland had no history of violence, was not a threat, and had simply been accused of threatening to throw a bottle of wine — which he never did.
After he died, police waited nearly a month to release the body-camera footage, and when they did, it was presented with their narrative. According to the San Joaquin County Medical Examiner’s preliminary autopsy report, there “was no inflicted trauma or injuries to the decedent that caused his death.”
However, one does not need to be physically injured to have the air squeezed from their lungs until one dies.
“And his words become more and more garbled as you can see him struggling for breath,” civil rights attorney James Desimone said. “This went on for close to three minutes as these officers didn’t get up and they didn’t let up.”
“Money is not going to bring my son back, but he does have two children, two small children that he’s no longer here,” Sutherland said when she announced a lawsuit in 2021. “He was a hard worker, he provided for his family, and now he’s no longer here to do that.”
Source: The Free Thought Project
Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Minds.
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