Jean Samuel Celestin
Jean Samuel Celestin, 33, died while in custody in Ocoee, Florida.
Celestin, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, had allegedly punched his mother and sister in the face on April 11, 2019. They called police asking officers to remove Celestin from the home and involuntarily commit him to a mental health facility.
Body camera video from police officers who responded the call shows their interaction with Celestin. They ask if they can speak with him. His family says he was too disoriented and unwell to follow commands and eventually panicked and ran away. After that Celestin was tackled to the ground and tased several times. While Celestin was on his stomach, officers hogtied his ankles and wrists together in a “hobble restraint.” Celestin died of sudden cardiorespiratory arrest.
In April 2021 family of Celestin sued the cities of Ocoee, Windermere and their police departments. The family is demanding to hold the officers accountable. They’re also calling on the agencies to review their policies and procedures while responding to calls regarding mental health issues.
In the end of July 2021, over two years after Jean “Samuel” Celestin’s deathwhile being tased by police, the Ocoee man’s family is still fighting to raise awareness of his case and seek justice. At a protest outside Orlando City Hall, Celestin’s relatives wore shirts with his name and carried signs saying, “Calling 911 should not be a death sentence” and “Mental illness ≠ a crime.” The family sent a formal request to Worrell’s office asking for the case to be reopened.
MASS MEDIA ABOUT THE CASE:
“I just didn’t even imagine that this situation was going to lead to that. It never crossed my mind,” Celestin’s sister said.
“He was not a threat to these officers,” Celestin’s family attorney said. “He was a mental health patient in crisis, and these officers treated him like a criminal.”
The initiative group has requested the clarification from US President Joseph Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland. The initiative group believes it is important to fight against police brutality and, if necessary, will provide legal and financial assistance to the family of the victim.