By: Samantha Michaels | Mother Jones
Outside a Family Dollar store in Gulfport, Mississippi, a stream of cars enter a parking lot. It is early February, a Saturday, but no one is here to shop.
Katrina Mateen, 41, stands with her back toward the store’s entrance, where a cluster of teddy bears, fake flowers, and tea candles sit in the sun. The belongings, faded from weeks of winter weather, are a makeshift memorial for her son Jaheim McMillan, who was shot in the head by police outside the store last October, when he was just 15 years old.
There are a lot of questions about the killing. The Gulfport police say McMillan turned toward officers after they instructed him to drop a weapon. But witnesses say he was unarmed when an officer shot him, and that he went several minutes without medical care as blood poured from his head. “I did not see a gun on him,” Deborah Stout, an Uber driver who witnessed the shooting, said in a video posted on Facebook. “He was coming out of the store with his hands up.”
Four months later, amid conflicting accounts, the city still has not released body-cam footage of the incident or even named the officer who pulled the trigger. McMillan’s family and supporters have no way to determine what actually happened. “It’s been agonizing” to go so long without the information, Mateen tells me. “For them not to release it to the public, like they should, it lets me know they’re trying to hide something.”
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