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In the days since D’vontaye L. Mitchell died after being held down by four security guards outside a hotel in Milwaukee, many questions remain surrounding his death and the lead-up to it.

Mitchell’s death occurred at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Milwaukee at about 4 p.m. on June 30, after what Milwaukee police described as a disturbance and subsequent fight as he was escorted out. The cause of the disturbance, according to what witnesses overheard, was Mitchell allegedly walking into the women’s bathroom.

“They treated him like he was nothing, like he was an animal,” Mitchell’s sister-in-law Candice Miller told the Journal Sentinel.

But questions around why he was there, the hotel’s approach to security and what happens now still linger. So far, what is known is based on local authorities’ statements and what witnesses have shared with media.

Many details remain uncertain in the week since Mitchell died. Here’s what we know and don’t know so far:

D’Vontaye L. Mitchell described as a loving member of his family, faced mental health issues

Mitchell’s family members told the Journal Sentinel that the 43-year-old man was a loving brother and member of the family. He was the father to an eight-year-old daughter, Morgan.

Family members said he suffered from depressions since his father’s death in 2016. The initial medical examiner’s report said Mitchell was homeless, however the family refuted that.

In a statement from family attorney Ben Crump, it said that Mitchell’s mother believed that he was suffering from a mental health episode.

“They need to stop killing Black men,” his older sister Nayisha Mitchell told the Journal Sentinel. “We are not going to stop until we get justice. We are not going to allow his death to be swept under the rug.”

How did D’Vontaye L. Mitchell die?

Mitchell died after being held down on his stomach by security guards outside of the Hyatt Regency hotel, but the exact cause of death and autopsy has not been released yet.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office determined July 1 the preliminary cause of his death to be a homicide. The Milwaukee Police Department on Tuesday said it is investigating Mitchell’s death, that the cause of death is under investigation and the Medical Examiners final report is still pending.

The way Mitchell was held down by security guards before his death has invoked immediate comparison to the death of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis who was killed by police after an officer held him down by kneeling on his back and neck.

Video from witnesses show Mitchell being held down by four security guards, with knees on various parts of his back. Another video shows Milwaukee authorities attempting to give Mitchell CPR.

One witness told the Journal Sentinel that he watched security guards hold Mitchell down between 7 and 10 minutes. Another witness, Nick Hansen, said he believed he heard noise and screaming from the incident for about 10 to 15 minutes, before driving over and observing it for another minute.  

“When the police came, that’s when they started getting off of him and police … started checking for a pulse,” one witness Shawn Moore said. “He checked a neck first then he checked an arm and then his neck again and then he turned him over and his body was limp.” 

What led up to the incident between D’Vontaye L. Mitchell and Hyatt security guards?

It isn’t clear yet what occurred before Mitchell was held down by hotel security.

Mitchell’s family said they had no idea why he was at the Hyatt and an initial police statement described the incident minimally.

The statement said that Mitchell entered the hotel and caused “a disturbance”.

“The individual fought with security guards as they were escorting the individual out. Security detained the individual until police arrived. Upon arrival, the individual was unresponsive and despite lifesaving measures, the 43-year-old individual was pronounced deceased,” the statement said.

Police said they would not discuss an ongoing investigation in response to Journal Sentinel questions.

Throughout the incident, witnesses said that someone could be heard saying “this is what happens when you go in the women’s bathroom.” That same person attempted to get Moore and another person to stop recording, Moore said, asking them if they’re ‘cool with (Mitchell) trying to hurt us.’

The family members are encouraging anyone who witnessed Mitchell’s death to reach out to them on social media with photos or videos.

What are Hyatt hotel security policies?

It’s unclear whether hotel security was hired directly by the hotel or through a private security company.

In a statement, Hyatt said that it was cooperating with Milwaukee police and that it extended its “heartfelt condolences to all who knew and loved Mr. Mitchell.” The statement said it was working with the hotel’s operator, Aimbridge Hospitality, to “understand the full extent of what transpired.”

“We understand Aimbridge Hospitality is conducting a thorough investigation and has suspended the employees involved in the incident,” Hyatt’s statement said.

An Aimbridge spokesperson said in a Friday statement that the company was supporting law enforcement’s investigation and had no further comment at this time.

“We offer our sincere condolences to Mr. Mitchell’s family and loved ones.,” the statement said. “We remain committed to maintaining a safe and welcoming environment for all hotel guests and associates.”

Aimbridge declined to say whether the company contracted security or hired guards themselves.

Has anyone been charged in D’Vontaye L. Mitchell’s death?

Authorities have not yet announced how they intend to proceed on Mitchell’s death, however small updates have occurred.

In an email on Friday, Milwaukee police said, “this is not a criminal investigation at this time; however, we are having the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office review it.”

The District Attorney confirmed it was reviewing the case and said there was no timeline on a charging decision. On Wednesday, police said the cause of death is under investigation and that the Medical Examiner’s final report is still pending.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner said that it had completed an autopsy on the case, but that police had issued a non-disclosure on the case, holding the autopsy’s release.

David Clarey is a reporter with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He can be reached at [email protected].