There’s something sketchy going on at Baltimore Central Booking as the second mysterious death in less than two years has just occurred there.
Deniro Bellamy, 31, turned himself in to the booking station for a traffic violation, The Baltimore Sun reports. He was being held there in a cell with other inmates when guards found him unconscious, a corrections spokesman said.
The spokesman added that officers attempted CPR before Bellamy was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. An internal affairs investigation into the matter is underway.
While corrections spokesman Gerard Shields said that “our early indication is that there was no foul play,” it seems rather bizarre that this is the second sudden death to occur on their watch in recent years.
A 53-year-old woman named Bernice Mitchell also died at Central Booking in December 2016. Her relatives claimed they weren’t informed of her death until several days later, and critical details leading up to her passing were kept from them.
Bellamy’s brother, Zeke Bellamy, is now echoing that family's complaints, claiming he has been provided very little information about his brother and has received inconsistent stories from officials.
Zeke Bellamy said when he arrived at Johns Hopkins Hospital, the personnel were “very secretive” about what was going on with his brother, and he was prohibited from seeing his body prior to it being taken to the medical examiner’s office.
“I pretty much begged them to let me see my brother,” he said.
However, Shields noted that it’s standard practice for staff to not allow relatives to see the body of the deceased until it has been looked over by the medical examiner.
Zeke Bellamy revealed that his brother was living with a mental disability and resided in a group home called Emerge. He didn't have a valid driver’s license at the time he committed a traffic violation, which is what landed him in trouble.
Zeke Bellamy is now seeking answers about what happened in Central Booking and is pleading to see his brother’s body.
“It’s horrible,” said Zeke Bellamy. “He’s all by himself. No family has been able to go down there and just give him a kiss or something.”
What makes Deniro Bellamy’s case particularly troubling is that Baltimore Central Booking has seen an uptick in assaults since July 2015 after the City Jail closed. This spike makes the notion that there was no foul play in Deniro Bellamy’s sudden death questionable, especially given that he was in a cell with other inmates.
Sadly, police cover-ups are not uncommon. Therefore, if there was any misconduct on behalf of officers, or if guards ignored mischief going on among the inmates, those details may not ever come to light. One thing that is certain is that the Bellamy family deserves to know the truth, as does the Mitchell family and all other surviving relatives of men and women who have died in police custody.
Banner/Thumbnail : Wikimedia Commons, groupuscule