March 9, 1976
July 8, 2015
Age at Death:
Jonathan Sanders lived in Stonewall, Mississippi with his girlfriend, Charita Kennedy and their 1-year old son. Mr. Sanders enjoyed horses and was training one of his horses when confronted by a white police officer.
Mr. Sanders was riding around town on his horse and buggy when he saw a white police officer and another white man that Sanders knew in an altercation. Witnesses said that Sanders Sanders told this officer to leave the man alone. The unnamed white man left and witneses said that the police officer stated "I'm gonna get that n****r." He then got in his police car and drove behind Sanders who was unaware until he turned on the siren scaring the horse and throwing Sanders from his buggy. Witnesses say that the officer chased after Sanders, pulled him onto the ground, and applied a headlock. Witnesses told the lawyers that Sanders was face down with his hands underneath him; the officer was on his knees in front of Sanders, they said. By then, several neighbors had gone outside, including a witness who told the officer that Sanders would not be able to breathe with his face buried in the tall grass. They also say that Sanders told the officer twice that he could not breathe. A correctional officer also tried to intervene during the 30 minutes that Sanders was in a chokehold but the police officer wouldn't let him assist.
Was justice served?
No, justice was not served for Jonathan Sanders. A grand jury determined Sanders choked after swallowing a bag of cocaine, and police had not used excessive force while restraining him. The NAACP has called for further investigation.