Graphic Video Shows Luzerne County Correctional Facility Inmate Death

WILK NEWSROOM
August 05, 2020 - 3:10 pm
WILK News Room

In November of 2018, Shaheen Mackey, 41, of Berwick, was arrested and held at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, after an alleged violation of a protection-from-abuse order.

Two days later, Mackey was dead.  A surveillance video showing what happened in between was recently made public through a Facebook post.

During the 23-minute video, Mackey is seated in a chair while a large group of corrections officers attempt to restrain him.  One corrections officer can be seen holding a spit mask over Mackey’s face, while other officers can be heard repeatedly instructing Mackey to “calm down” and “stop resisting”. 

Correctional officers can also be heard asking Mackey “what (drugs) he was on.” 

In a 2019 lawsuit, Dyller Law Firm, of Wilkes-Barre alleged that Mackey wasn’t under the influence of any drugs, but instead was in medical distress after suffering a seizure.  A seizure, the law firm claims, correctional officers failed to recognize. 

“Instead of treating the situation as the medical emergency that it was, the correctional officers treated Mr. Mackey’s convulsions with more physical force,” said the complaint, which alleged they placed Mackey in a position that restricted his breathing before using Tasers on him “at least 20 more times.”

The Citizen's Voice first reported on the surveillance video, which was posted on the Facebook page of a user named Nieem Johnson. The Citizen's Voice article posted the following quotes in their story:

"At no point did he resist, spit or fight back." While his hands was cuffed behind his back in the chair with a spit mask on his face and his feet shackled, the correctional officers shocked him with Tasers and not just held the spit mask on his face but choked him with it. This video is graphic and very disturbing to watch as Shaheen Mackey begs them to stop just before he takes his last breath."

In a subsequent post, the Facebook user described the officers as torturing Mackey in his final moments.

"Black Lives Matter!!!!!" he wrote. "Stand strong and firm. If you don't see the brutality and (torture) of a black man in this video I don't know what video you're watching."

At around the 10 minute mark of the video, a nurse can be seen administering narcan, a drug used to revive people after drug overdoses. At around the 12 minute mark, the nurse begins CPR.  Just after the 13 minute mark, one corrections officer is overheard saying "you can't give CPR in an (explitive) chair."

Corrections officers start to move Mackey to the floor, but it takes nearly two minutes to remove all the restraints. 

This past June, Luzerne County Council approved a $3 million settlement in the civil rights lawsuit with Mackey’s estate.  As of August, 2020, there are two other pending lawsuits. 

AUDIO: Frank Andrews talked to Mackey Family Attorney, Theron Solomon. 

After an investigation, the correctional officers in the video were cleared of any wrongdoing in this case. D.A. Stefanie Salavantis has stated that, despite the settlement, she stands by her decision and will not be filing charges. 

-JB

WARNING: THE VIDEO FEATURES GRAPHIC, DISTURBING IMAGES

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