Officers Will Not Face Charges in Death of Natasha McKenna, Video Released

The list of Black women dying in police custody continues to grow as the days and months go by. Most recently is Natasha McKenna, a mentally ill woman who died in February after being tased to death by officers in a Fairfax County, Va. jail. It was announced on Tuesday by Virginia chief prosecutor, Raymond F. Morrogh, the six male sheriff’s deputies involved would not face charges and to add to the heartbreak of this case, the video of her death was just released.

McKenna had multiple mental disorders and was arrested on January 15 for allegedly assaulting a police officer in Alexandria, Va. She was hospitalized for 10 days after being arrested by the Fairfax County authorities. While being held in custody for eight days awaiting transfer to Alexandria, her health began to deteriorate along with her behavior becoming erratic. Growing frustrated waiting for Alexandria PD to pick up McKenna, Fairfax PD had the Sheriff Emergency Response Team (SERT), who is known for dealing with “difficult” inmates, pick up McKenna from her jail cell and take her to Alexandria.

The video shows six SERT officers wearing biohazard suits and gas masks removing McKenna from her cell by restraining her, forcing her to the ground, shackling her hands and feet and putting a mask over her face.

A barely-clothed McKenna is heard saying, “You promised you wouldn’t kill me.” Multiple officers are heard telling McKenna to “stop resisting” even though she’s 5’ 4” and not moving. The officers then tased McKenna four times and she stopped breathing and died days later.

The attorney for McKenna’s family, Harvey J. Volzer, described the prosecutor’s decision not to charge the officers as “ludicrous” in an email to The Washington Post.

“What caused her death was one officer using a taser four times on a completely helpless, mentally-impaired female in violation of rules governing the proper use of a taser, and seven additional officers doing nothing to intervene.”

The video can be viewed here.

Brittney Fennell

Brittney Fennell

Brittney is the Associate Editor of Jawbreaker and a writer who has goals to disrupt culture in ways unseen.