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Witness speaks out after Gershun Freeman's death while in custody at 201 Poplar

Jacob Wilder alleges he was Gershun Freeman's cellmate and witnessed a fight between Freeman and another inmate — leading to an altercation with prison personnel.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — UPDATE: Two days after we spoke to Jacob Wilder, the Shelby County Sherriff's Office revealed Wilder was in custody from Sept. 13 until he was released on Thursday, Sept. 29. SCSO says Gershun Freeman was taken into custody on Saturday, October 1.

Gershun Freeman died while in the custody of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office at the Shelby County jail Wednesday evening, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

Family members are saying they got a call early Thursday morning that Freeman had been in a fight. 

Jacob Wilder claims he was Freeman's cellmate at 201 Poplar before his release Thursday and he says he witnessed this altercation. Wilder also claims the inmates were on lockdown for several days and dealing with unsafe living conditions.   

"Mr. Freeman got sick and tired of, you know, being locked down for seven days straight with no food, no water, no nothing — not being able to call his family or his folks," Wilder said. 

Wilder alleges that Freeman and another inmate began arguing. Then, Wilder claims a correctional officer opened the cells' doors and allowed a physical fight to ensue between Freeman and another inmate.  

"The CO Officer ... he called for backup and that's when the DRTs [Detention Response Team], four of them came after Mr. Freeman," Wilder said. "They was beating him to death, stomping his head in, you know, and he was screaming saying 'stop, stop, stop' — pepper spraying him." 

Wilder claims it was nearly an hour before any medical aid arrived.

"He was unconscious; no speaking, no breathing, nothing," Wilder said. "Just laying there. The nurses, they came and got him; picked his body up and you know, carted him off the pod."

RELATED: Inmate death at 201 Poplar under investigation, TBI says

The TBI was called in to investigate Freeman's death at 201 Poplar at the request of Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy

Wilder alleges he was told not to say anything but feels he has to share what he believes to be the truth.

"I'm gone speak on what I know, and what I know is what I know — ain't nobody gone tell me different," Wilder said. 


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