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Family demands charges for Black man's death outside Milwaukee hotel

The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office is now investigating D’Vontaye Mitchell's death as a homicide.
Dvontaye Mitchell
Posted at 11:20 AM, Jul 11, 2024

The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office said it is now investigating the death of D’Vontaye Mitchell as a homicide.

Mitchell died on June 30 outside the Hyatt Regency in Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee Police Department said he went into the hotel, caused a disturbance, and security escorted him out.

Video shows four security guards on top of Mitchell, while he pleaded for help. Mitchell was unresponsive when the police got there.

MPD had told Scripps News Milwaukee that Mitchell's death is not part of a criminal investigation and that no one had been arrested. On Friday, MPD said the case was sent to the DA's office for further investigation.

Milwaukee County District Attorney now investigating D’Vontaye Mitchell's death as homicide

In a statement sent Wednesday afternoon, District Attorney John Chisholm said, "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."

Chisholm went on to say, "all aspects of these actions, including Mr. Mitchell's death and the use of force by hotel personnel, will be closely examined."

Mitchell's family has hired nationally recognized trial attorney Ben Crump to represent them. Crump is working with local attorneys Will Sulton and B'Ivory Lamarr.

They held a press conference to provide an update outside the Milwaukee County Safety Building at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Crump, along with attorneys Sulton and Lamarr, said they and some family members were shown hotel surveillance video at the district attorney's office recently.

Sulton said that Hyatt security footage shows Mitchell "running for his life." He said you can see Mitchell being beaten, punched and kicked over and over again, with his hands up, saying, "I'm sorry."

Sulton said it's one of the most disgusting things he's seen in his career.

Sulton explained that the beating went on for 15 minutes and that it's clear there's a foundation for probable cause.

Press conference for Mitchell case

In addition to the surveillance video family and attorneys were shown, Crump said a family member of one of the guards seen in the viral video, on top of Mitchell, contacted his team.

That employee allegedly met with Crump and his team and signed an affidavit that they plan to present to the district attorney's office. Crump said the employee told them he told the guards to get off of Mitchell and that Mitchell couldn't breathe.

Attorneys said that the employee also told them he was encouraged to help detain Mitchell, he knew the force they were using was excessive, and how he felt bad about how they were "brutalizing him."

Family told Scripps News Milwaukee it was the most disturbing thing they've ever seen.

DeAsia Harmon, Mitchell's wife, was brought to tears during Wednesday's press conference.

Family and attorneys said they want first-degree intentional homicide charges filed against the employees. They're also asking for the hotel to be shut down.

A Hyatt spokesperson released an updated statement Wednesday afternoon echoing Mitchell's family's calls for transparency, accountability, and justice saying they "believe that the employees of Aimbridge Hospitality who were involved should be terminated and that criminal charges should be filed."

The statement added that Hyatt Regency Milwaukee is a franchised hotel, operated by Aimbridge Hospitality, which they say is responsible for the management of hotel employees, including the disciplinary actions related to the individuals involved in this incident.

The spokesperson said Aimbridge Hospitality is still completing its investigation and has suspended its employees involved in the incident.

The statement ended with the spokesperson emphasizing Hyatt's commitment to supporting efforts to "help ensure accountability for the circumstances that led to the death of D'Vontaye Mitchell."

This story was originally published by Scripps News Milwaukee.