Mississippi News Now

When Jamal Mallard was arrested at his Jackson, Miss. home late Saturday night for the petty larceny of a neighbor's lawnmower, police found him asleep and took him to jail peacefully.

A few hours later, Mallard, 29, was found dead in his cell, according to news reports.

Mississippi News Now

Officers responded to a report of a stolen lawnmower Saturday night, and found Mallard pushing it down the street. He ran when approached by officers, and was later arrested at his home.

Advertisement

He was booked into Jackson Police Headquarters at 3:43 a.m. Sunday morning and found unresponsive at 6 a.m. Video footage of him checking into the jail shows him walking around and apparently unharmed.

Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance said at a press conference that Mallard's body had "absolutely no signs of trauma," but has asked the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation to conduct an investigation.

The Hinds County Coroner's Office referred questions about Mallard's autopsy to the state Medical Examiner's Office, which did not respond to a request for comment.

Advertisement

Nanette Mallard, the victim's mother, said she hadn't been allowed to see her son's body.

Fox 40

"I wasn't allowed to see my child before they carried him out, you know what I'm saying," she told Mississippi News Now. "I want to see my child whole and then I want to examine him for myself. I want to see if there was any bruises on my child because he didn't leave here like that."

Nanette called police to tell them where her son was when she heard they were looking for him, she told the TV channel. "I thought I was doing a good thing," she said. "And then when my child end up dead? I could have just kept him at home."

A national report from August found that the majority of people who die in jail cells, like Mallard, were held there for fewer than 7 days and were not convicted of a crime.

Casey Tolan is a National News Reporter for Fusion based in New York City.