Questions surround the death of a Tunica County inmate. He was booked after a fight at a bar last week, but then later, he was taken to a hospital and died.
Investigators say they were called to a fight at Frank’s Pub in Robinsonville last Thursday night around 11:00 p.m. When deputies got there, the fight between two guys was over. One was gone; the other, Derek smith, was still there. ‘
Deputies say they tried to get Smith to leave and go home. They weren’t going to arrest him.
“He was given several opportunities to leave,” says Chief Deputy Randy Stewart of the Tunica County Sheriff’s Office.
But they say Smith was belligerent and out of control, and even hit one of the deputies.
“He was very argumentative. He was using profanity towards the officers. He was aggressive towards the officers,” says Stewart.
He says deputies were forced to tase Smith twice to get control. “It was in either the right or left leg. It was not any other place.”
They say he also repeatedly refused medical attention.
Deputies arrested Smith and charged him with public drunkenness, disturbing the peace, and resisting arrest.
He was booked at the Tunica County jail, and put into a cell. Investigators say when family members came to bail him out, they noticed he needed medical attention. Smith was taken to the hospital, where he later died.
Stewart says they won’t comment on what took place between the time Smith got to the jail, to the time he was taken to the hospital, because they asked the MBI to investigate.
“We are cooperating with them,” says Stewart. “We have provided them with video of the jail from point A to point B from his arrival to his exit. We provided them with video of the incident that happened at Franks.”
Stewart admits he was shocked to learn of Smith’s death, and he just wants the truth to come out.
“My heart does go out to the family. And I mean I understand some of their questions that need to be answered,” says Stewart. “I would ask not only the family but the public to just let the investigation take its course and the investigation will reveal the truth of what happened.”
It could take weeks for Smith’s autopsy results to come in. The MBI is investigating to find out exactly what led to Smith’s death.
We reached out to some of Smith’s family members and friends, but they have not responded.