D’Vontaye L. Mitchell’s Death at Milwaukee Hyatt Under Investigation
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D’Vontaye L. Mitchell’s Death at Milwaukee Hyatt Under Investigation

D’Vontaye L. Mitchell’s Death at Milwaukee Hyatt Under Investigation

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A black man died after being stopped by four security guards outside a Wisconsin hotel, raising questions about his death and the circumstances surrounding it.

D’Vontaye L. Mitchell’s death occurred at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Milwaukee around 4 p.m. on June 30, after what local police described as a disturbance and a subsequent struggle as he was being led away. The cause of the disturbance, according to witnesses, was Mitchell allegedly entering the women’s restroom.

“They treated him like he was nothing, like he was an animal,” Candice Miller, Mitchell’s sister-in-law, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, part of the USA TODAY Network.

But questions about why he was there, the hotel’s approach to security and what’s happening now remain. So far, it’s all based on statements from local authorities and what witnesses have told the media.

Many details remain uncertain in the week since Mitchell’s death. Here’s what we know and don’t know so far:

Fragment: What has changed four years after George Floyd’s murder?

D’Vontaye L. Mitchell, described as a loving family man, struggled with mental health issues

Mitchell’s family members told the Journal Sentinel that the 43-year-old was a loving brother and family man, and the father of an 8-year-old daughter, Morgan.

Family members said he had suffered from depression since his father’s death in 2016. The medical examiner’s initial report said Mitchell was homeless, but his family has denied that.

A statement from family attorney Ben Crump said Mitchell’s mother believed he was suffering from a mental health condition.

“They have to stop killing black men,” his older sister, Nayisha Mitchell, told the Journal Sentinel. “We will not stop until we get justice. We will not let his death be swept under the rug.”

How did D’Vontaye L. Mitchell die?

Mitchell died after security guards placed him in a prone position outside the Hyatt Regency hotel. The exact cause of death and autopsy results have not yet been released.

The Milwaukee County Coroner’s Office determined July 1 that the preliminary cause of his death was a homicide. The Milwaukee Police Department said Tuesday that it was investigating Mitchell’s death, that the cause of death was under investigation and that the final coroner’s report was still pending.

The way security guards held Mitchell down before he died immediately brings to mind the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis who was killed by police after an officer held him down by kneeling on his back and neck.

Bystander video shows four security guards holding Mitchell down, placing their knees on different parts of his back. Another video shows Milwaukee authorities trying to perform CPR on Mitchell.

One witness told the Journal Sentinel he saw security guards hold Mitchell down for seven to 10 minutes. Another witness, Nick Hansen, said he believed he heard noise and screaming from the incident for about 10 to 15 minutes before he drove up and watched for another minute.

“When the police got there, they started lowering him down, and the police… started checking for a pulse,” witness Shawn Moore said. “He checked his neck first, his shoulder, his neck, his neck again, and then he turned him over on his back and his body went limp.”

In an interview with WTMJ-TV, Moore said he was unable to “grasp” the gravity of the situation.

“He reminds me of George Floyd. When I watched that video, the only thing I noticed was that he wasn’t screaming for his mother, he was screaming,” he told the outlet, referring to Floyd pleading for his mother before he died. “As a black man from Milwaukee who advocates for other black men, advocates for criminal justice reform, advocates for the mentally ill, advocates for violence intervention — looking back, I feel like I should have done more.”

According to WTMJ, family members appealed to the hotel to provide surveillance footage.

What led to the incident between D’Vontaye L. Mitchell and Hyatt security?

It is not yet clear what happened before Mitchell was detained by hotel security.

Mitchell’s family said they had no idea why he was at the Hyatt. The initial police report provided only a brief description of the incident.

The statement said Mitchell entered the hotel and “created a disturbance.”

“The person fought with the security guards who were taking him away. The security guards detained the person until the police arrived. Upon arrival, the person was unconscious and despite life-saving measures, the 43-year-old was declared dead,” the statement reads.

Police said they would not comment on the ongoing investigation in response to questions from the Journal Sentinel.

Throughout the incident, witnesses said someone could be heard saying, “This is what happens when you go to the ladies’ room.” The same person tried to get Moore and another person to stop recording, Moore said, asking them if “it bothered them that (Mitchell) was trying to hurt us.”

Family members are encouraging anyone who witnessed Mitchell’s death to contact them on social media and send photos or videos.

What are the safety policies at Hyatt hotels?

It is unclear whether the hotel security was hired directly by the hotel or through a private security company.

In a statement, Hyatt said it was cooperating with Milwaukee police and that it offered “sincere condolences to all who knew and loved Mr. Mitchell.” The statement said it was working with the hotel’s operator, Aimbridge Hospitality, to “fully understand what happened.”

“We understand that Aimbridge Hospitality is conducting a thorough investigation and has suspended the employees involved in the incident,” Hyatt said in a statement.

A spokesman for Aimbridge said in a statement Friday that the company supports law enforcement’s investigation and would not comment further.

“We extend our sincere condolences to Mr. Mitchell’s family and loved ones,” the statement read. “We remain committed to maintaining a safe and welcoming environment for all hotel guests and associates.”

Aimbridge would not say whether the company contracted the security or hired them itself.

Has anyone been charged in connection with the death of D’Vontaye L. Mitchell?

Authorities have not yet announced what action they plan to take in the wake of Mitchell’s death, but there have been some minor updates.

Milwaukee police wrote in an email Friday that “this is not a criminal investigation at this time; however, we have assigned the Milwaukee County District Attorney to review it.”

The district attorney confirmed he was reviewing the case and said there was no timetable for a charging decision. Police said Wednesday that the cause of death was under investigation and the medical examiner’s final report was still pending.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner said an autopsy had been performed in the case, but police have issued a confidentiality order on the matter and withheld the release of the autopsy results.