Black man dies after being pinned down by Milwaukee hotel guards

Black man dies after being pinned down by Milwaukee hotel guards

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

Police are investigating the death of a Black man who died last month after being pinned to the ground by hotel security guards in Milwaukee.

The death of Dvontaye Mitchell has drawn comparisons to the murder of George Floyd, a Black man killed in 2020 after a white police officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck.

Mitchell, 43, died on June 30 at the Hyatt Regency after four security guards held him down on his stomach, media outlets have reported. Video showed Mitchell crying for help has he laid on the ground, with guards pinning him down with their hands and knees.

Police have said Mitchell entered the hotel, caused a disturbance and fought with the guards as they were escorting him out.

Mitchell's family has hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented Floyd's family. Floyd's death spurred worldwide protests against racial violence and police brutality.

It's unclear why Mitchell was at the hotel or what happened before the guards pinned him down. The Milwaukee County medical examiner's initial report said Mitchell was homeless, but his family told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that's not correct. 

Sharpton to deliver eulogy at funeral

The Rev. Al Sharpton, a longtime activist and leader who serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, is expected to deliver a eulogy at Mitchell's funeral on Thursday. Sharpton said in a news release announcing his Milwaukee visit that Mitchell's mother said her son was suffering a "mental health episode."

The Republican National Convention opens July 15, just days after the service for Mitchell. Law enforcement agencies are bracing for political protests around the convention arena in Wisconsin's biggest city.

A man in a striped suit and yellow tie stands at a podium as he preaches to a church congregation.
The Rev. Al Sharpton is seen speaking at Brown Chapel AME church on March 1, 2020, in Selma, Ala. Sharpton will deliver a eulogy at Mitchell's funeral later this week. (Butch Dill/The Associated Press)

Sharpton said convention-goers need to know about Mitchell's death.

"We cannot watch Dvontaye Mitchell's murder be washed out by the RNC coming to town, where they will solidify a nominee whose view of justice is pure brute force," Sharpton said, referring to former U.S. president Donald Trump.

Police officials were still investigating Mitchell's death on Tuesday, the Journal Sentinel reported. The police department responded to an Associated Press request for an update by emailing a statement saying that an unidentified individual had fought with security guards at the hotel on June 30 and was unresponsive when officers arrived.

The medical examiner's office has said the preliminary cause of death was homicide but the cause remains under investigation. No one had been charged criminally as of Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Aimbridge Hospitality, which runs the Hyatt Regency in Milwaukee, told The Washington Post that the company extends its condolences to Mitchell's family and supports the ongoing investigation.