Rexdale Henry spent the last five nights of his life in the Neshoba County Jail in Philadelphia, Mississippi. At 10:00 a.m. on July 14, he was found dead in his cell; 30 minutes earlier, according to the official police report, he was alive. The cause of his death has not been determined, and even though an official autopsy has been conducted, his family and friends have paid for an independent autopsy. Results have not been publicly released from either autopsy as of this writing.Henry, 53, was arrested on July 9 for “failure to pay a fine,” according to records. Many writers are noting the several surface similarities between this case and the more prominent one of Sandra Bland, the young woman who died in police custody in Texas after a weekend in jail: both were arrested for seemingly minor infractions, both spent several days in custody, and both died suddenly and out of police sight mere minutes after police had interacted them. Both were community activists. Mr. Henry was a civil rights activist and a leader in the Choctaw community; he had stood for election for the Choctaw Tribal Council this month.
Ms. Bland’s arrest was recorded on the arresting officer’s cruiser dashcam; there is no similar recording of the interaction between Mr. Henry and the arresting officer. All that is known about Mr. Henry is that he was arrested, held in jail for several days, and died. Last fall, a man died in the same jail under similarly murky circumstances.