Body Of Veteran Who Died In Police Custody Returned To Family Missing Organs
On April 7, 2018, Everette Palmer Jr told his family he was on his way to New York to visit, but would first stop in Pennsylvania to settle an outstanding warrant stemming from a 2016 DUI. According to CNN, that was the last time anyone spoke to Palmer.
Two days later, the Palmer family was notified Everett died in police custody at the York County Prison. Their suspicions were only heightened when the 41-year-old's body was returned to them sans his throat, heart, and brain.
Now the family is demanding answers after being given the run around by officials. Civil Rights attorney Lee Meritt said Palmer's death "smacks of a cover-up."
While speaking with the outlet, Meritt said prison and county officials haven't provided any answers. However, York County Coroner Pam Grier alleges the family is well aware of what happened to the U.S. Veteran's organs.
"There were never any missing organs," Gay said. "The lab that does our autopsies has the organs. Coroner's offices don't always have a morgue or a forensic pathologist. We contract those services out. We utilize a team in Allentown. That's who retains the specimens. They don't always tell us what they retain. We made that clear to the family from the beginning."
Grier also said it's common to remove a person's throat "to make sure there wasn't any kind of component that caused asphyxia."
Merritt countered Grier's statement. "It's not unusual to take organs out of a body during an autopsy, especially if you believe they were subject to trauma. The highly unusual part is to misplace them."
An initial autopsy said Palmer died "following an excited state" in which "he began hitting his head against the inside of his cell door" and was restrained by law enforcement. The report later states he became irritated due to "methamphetamine toxicity" and a "probably sickling red cell disorder"
Palmer's family tells CNN he didn't have any health issues leading up to his death, and the report of him harming himself is completely out of character for the father of two. Palmer's brother Dwayne said Everette may have been a big guy, but he was a gentle giant.
"He joked around a lot. He was the life of the family," Dwayne Palmer said. "He wasn't a perfect person, but certainly not somebody that's a rabble-rouser, fighting, starting trouble or anything like that. He was a loving person."
Speaking on behalf of the family, Dwayne said he wants to know what happened because the information doesn't add up.
"We don't believe anything (officials) are telling us at this point," he said. "It's a tremendous loss for our family. We are devastated."
On the morning of Palmer's death, he was taken to a clinic where it was determined he was unresponsive. He was then transferred to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. Dwayne said his brother was trying to rectify a legal matter nothing more.
Dwayne continued: "If he was being processed for something that he did wrong in terms of the DUI -- he should be held accountable for that -- but it shouldn't be a death sentence, certainly inside of a jail," his brother added. "We know that there are good people in that prison system. We appeal to them to come forward and share what they know."