In April 2019, police strangled 33-year-old mentally ill African-American man Jean Samuel Celestin to death. Police responded to a call about a domestic dispute after his mother and sister had a little confrontation with him. A few minutes later, the man died without any medical assistance from the officers who choked him.
On April 11, 2019, the Ocoee Police Department received a report of a domestic dispute. Police arrived at the scene and began questioning the man’s relatives about what had happened. Bodycam video shows police talking to Celestina’s mother, who claims that the man punched her in the face. Woman warned a police officer that her son is suffering from mental health problems.
However, Celestin was too disoriented to follow the officers commands, and eventually panicked and ran away. The police caught up with him and tased him, then knocked him to the ground and used a chokehold. A few minutes later, Celestin died of positional asphyxia. The officers did not give the man emergency treatment, despite the fact that they are required to do so after applying a chokehold.
In April 2021, Celesten’s family filed a lawsuit against the city and the police department. The lawsuit seeks compensation and damages, as well as a jury trial against the officers involved in the man’s death.