KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County district attorney general is defending her decision to release the video showing the arrest of a man who died in police custody. At the same time the man’s mother is saying she’s not satisfied with the investigation process.
District Attorney Charme Allen says Robert Bailey died in Knoxville Police custody of a drug overdose and no charges will be filed.
Wednesday, DA Allen released information and videos of the incident following an investigation.
“Drugs were found in his car and he did make it in the paddy wagon with drugs,” Allen said.
Authorities say Bailey is seen in video consuming a substance from the inside of the transportation vehicle that was taking him to jail on Jan. 6. Bailey was arrested without incident after a traffic stop earlier that day.
Lab results show the plastic bags that were found in Bailey’s body were filled with a mix of heroin, meth, fentanyl and several other drugs. The DA’s office is calling Bailey’s death an accident.
“We found drugs in the particular cell in the van that were tested,” Allen said. “We found drugs in the compartment next to him where he was sending those drugs to the lady next door and those were tested. And we found the two bags in his esophagus and those were tested.”
For Ruth Bailey, Robert’s mother, the entire process to get answers about her son’s death has been a struggle.
“They locked down all the videos,” Ruth said. “They haven’t shown me all of the video that they have which should’ve been shown to me first instead the public.”
She describes Robert as a “normal family man.”
“Part of me is missing,” Ruth said. “(Robert) cared about his kids, would feed the homeless. If he didn’t have money to buy someone something he would bring them home and we would feed them.”
Bailey’s attorney Lance Baker asserts there is no law to keep the family from seeing the videos.
“This is not going to be the last case that Knox County or the surrounding area is going to see like this,” Baker said. “So, Charme Allen or any other district attorney that’s watching should know that they are going to be met with strong opposition if this how they’re going to handle these matters moving forward.”
But according to Allen, getting lab results, the autopsy results and other evidence is what allowed her to release them all. Allen said she and her office tried to contact Bailey’s attorney several times for everybody to review the evidence but never got a response.
“Once they decided not to come, then there’s no reason for me to hold the video because my policy has always been you release to the family first,” Allen said. “They deserve that right. I am not releasing the video of someone’s loved one dying or any circumstances surrounding that until the family has had the opportunity to see it first.”
Ruth says she doesn’t think the DA’s office is truth and is still seeking justice for her son.
“I think they’re liars,” Ruth Bailey said. “I do not trust the Police Department. Look how they treat black people. There’s been too many incidents that’s been going on with black males. Something needs to be done.”