Hyatt Regency Milwaukee death; attorneys share 'explosive' details

Attorneys representing the family of D'Vontaye Mitchell, the man who died after security guards tried to restrain him outside a downtown Milwaukee hotel, shared what they called "explosive" details about the case on Wednesday.

Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump and his co-counsel said they received a statement from one of the men seen in the video trying to restrain Mitchell. In that statement, the attorneys said, the man claimed he was forced to subdue the man even though he knew it was wrong.

Several of Mitchell's family members have seen new video from inside the Hyatt Regency. Those videos are not yet available to the public. 

FOX6 also learned on Thursday, July 11, that the security guards involved in the incident had been terminated by the hospitality company, Aimbridge Hospitality.

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Already available cellphone video shows Mitchell underneath what looks like four security guards who are trying to restrain him outside the hotel. In the video, Mitchell appears to be saying "Help" and "I'm sorry."  Police said Mitchell walked into the hotel and caused a disturbance. Witnesses said he locked himself inside a bathroom with a woman. His family said he struggled with mental illness.

"To see him leave this world the way he did, that was devastating. That will never leave my mind. That's going to live with me for the rest of my life," said Brenda Giles, Mitchell's mother. "I always thought that my children would be the ones to bury me – not me bury them."

D'Vontaye Mitchell

On Wednesday, protesters marched with Mitchell's family and the attorneys from the Public Safety Building to the hotel. The 43-year-old man's family has asked for community support and for his story to reach the masses.

"To embarrass him like that, to destroy his character, to take away his dignity, it was so wrong of them to do," DeAsia Harmon, Mitchell’s wife, said.

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"The individual that was holding his legs tried to get up. He knew that was wrong," attorney B'Ivory Lamarr said. "He’s trying to go back in to the Hyatt Regency but was commanded to get back down."

The Milwaukee Police Department said its homicide unit is investigating D'Vontaye Mitchell's death, and the case is not yet criminal. The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office is reviewing the case as a homicide.

"How many more, America? How many more Black men have to say ‘I can’t breathe?’" Crump asked.

Mitchell will be laid to rest at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 11, at Holy Redeemer.

Statement from Hyatt Regency Milwaukee spokesperson:

"Hyatt joins the family of D’Vontaye Mitchell in their calls for transparency, accountability and justice for this senseless tragedy. We believe that the employees of Aimbridge Hospitality who were involved should be terminated and that criminal charges should be filed."

District Attorney John Chisholm:

"Mr. Mitchell’s death is a tragedy, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family. The Milwaukee Police Department is actively investigating Mr. Mitchell’s death. Today, our office met with Attorney William Sulton, representing Mr. Mitchell’s family, to provide an update on the ongoing police investigation and prosecutorial review, during which Mr. Sulton viewed video footage and other evidence related to the investigation.

Our office is reviewing Mr. Mitchell’s death as a homicide case. We, along with police investigators, are currently awaiting the full results of an autopsy performed by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office. The autopsy results will inform the ongoing police investigation into Mr. Mitchell’s death and allow our office to comprehensively evaluate the actions leading up to Mr. Mitchell’s death from the perspective of potential criminal liability. All aspects of these actions, including Mr. Mitchell’s death and the use of force by hotel personnel, will be closely examined."

On Thursday, July 11, Aimbridge Hospitality released a statement saying the employees had been terminated:

"We are saddened and shocked by what happened to Dvontaye Mitchell at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones.

The conduct we saw from several associates on June 30 violated our policies and procedures, and does not reflect our values as an organization or the behaviors we expect from our associates. Following review of their actions, their employment has been terminated. We will continue our independent investigation and do everything we can to support law enforcement with their investigation into this tragic incident."