According to a lawsuit, an Alabama man who died while being held by the police may have frozen to death after being restrained for hours in a walk-in freezer.
Anthony Mitchell, 33, was detained in January on suspicion of discharging a firearm during a welfare check that his family had requested due to his mental state.
He was taken to a hospital after being taken to the Walker County Jail in Jasper, Alabama.
Records cited in the lawsuit imply that he passed away on January 26 from hypothermia.
His attorneys stated in the lawsuit against the sheriff's office as well as the medical and corrections staff at the jail, "This is one of the most appalling cases of jail abuse the country has seen.".
In response to BBC's request for comment, the sheriff's office remained silent.
The lawsuit includes a video clip of the incident, which the attorneys claim was captured by a corrections officer using a mobile phone to record security footage from the jail.
The sheriff's office had previously stated that Mr. Mitchell was "alert and conscious when he left the facility and arrived at the hospital," but the video appears to show his limp and unconscious body being carried to a police vehicle.
Records show that when he arrived, his body temperature was 72F (22C). After three hours of attempts at resuscitation, a doctor declared him dead.
In medical records that were included in the lawsuit, the doctor noted, "I am not sure what circumstances the patient was held in incarceration but it is difficult to understand a rectal temperature of 72 degree Fahrenheit while someone is incarcerated in jail.".
I am unsure of the possibility that he was exposed to a cold environment. I do think that hypothermia was the final factor in his demise," he continued.
According to the lawsuit, Mitchell was "likely" restrained that evening of January 25 and left there for hours in the jail kitchen's walk-in freezer or another cold location.
According to the lawsuit, medical staff and officers failed to call an ambulance or provide Mitchell with medical care for five hours. .
According to his family, jail staff members delayed medical care and made an effort to hide his abuse.
Numerous corrections officers and medical personnel strolled over to Tony's open cell door to observe and be entertained by his condition as he languished naked and dying of hypothermia in the early morning hours of January 26, according to his mother's lawyers.
Karen Kelly, the officer who took the video and shared it, was terminated.
She claims that the Walker County Sheriff's office fired her in retaliation for making the video public and has filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination against them.
According to her lawsuit, Ms. Kelly wasn't at the jail the night of the incident but heard rumors about it when she got back to work and looked through surveillance footage to find the clip.
In addition, the lawsuit claims that Mr. Mitchell had no clothing other than some paper-thin material and was kept in a "bare holding cell with no toilet or bed.".
The lawsuit claimed that Mitchell was frequently exposed in that cell. The results of the autopsy are still pending.
There are more than a million inmates with mental health issues in US jails and prisons. Previous studies have shown that prisoners with mental health issues are more likely than others to experience abuse.