Region 8 Mom Searching for Answers After Son's Death in Police Custody

September 6, 2005 – Posted at 5:32 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- The mother of a Region 8 man who died after being jailed at the Craighead County Detention Center wants answers. Shirley Kimble believes that race could have played a role in her son's death.

"He believed in God and was working on getting his life together," said Kimble, of her son Kevin.

A student athlete, a military man and a vocational graduate, Kevin Kimble seemed on track, but a drug conviction in 1996 would change his life. 34-year-old Kimble was arrested nearly two years ago on a parole violation charge.

He was brought to Craigead County Detention Center where, hours after he was jailed, he was taken in a rush to a Jonesboro Hospital.

"Rumor has it that they watched him die, that they watched him suffer and go through convulsions and shake," said Kimble through tears.

Kimble was pronounced dead just eight hours after his arrest. The official cause of death: an accidental drug overdose, but Shirley Kimble thinks there's more to the story. Booking photos appear to show Kimble to be in good health, but autopsy pictures show multiple bruises and abrasions on his face.

"He was arrested by the Jonesboro Police Department. I read the report and during his arrest Mr. Kimble was involved in an altercation," said Craighead County Sheriff Jack McCann.

A letter from the medical examiner's office explains what happened.

McCann said, "There may have been some minor abrasions under the skin and during the natural decomposition process these injuries may have looked worse than they really were."

"The Holy Spirit told me that they had beaten him, and I'm going to believe that until I die. Something wrong happened that day. So that makes me still believe one thing, that black man dies by the law, white man lives by the law and there is no justice in this city for the black man," said Kimble.

Shirley Kimble says she had not come forward with her allegations until now because she had not felt it was safe. She is planning on filing a lawsuit against the Sheriff's Department and is searching for an attorney.