PEARL, MISSISSIPPI—On December 12, 2019 Lisa Michelle Courtney, 33, of Brandon, MS, passed away. Her cause of death was listed as “natural cause.” June 6, her family is seeking justice for her life after a video surfaced of her taking a beating from correctional officers and inmates during her time at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl.
Reports say that, three people, including Courtney were arrested by U.S. Marshals after a Rankin County burglary in February 2017 and that the 61-year-old victim was shot multiple times during the burglary.
During her time in jail, a video is taken that was released to the family’s attorney, Joshua Lewis in May this year. Her family has reposted it to Facebook. In the tape from July 2019, Courtney is seen smacking a food trey out of a guard, Teresa Burton’s hand (right) and a fight breaks out between Courtney and Burton. Officer, Richardson (left) is seen in the video hitting Courtney after Burton. This led to inmates and officers against Courtney. She is then seen dragged out to another unit where the beating continues. Courtney’s Incident Report stated on, Dec 12 2019, during a meal time, Courtney said she was having difficulty breathing. She then fell off her rack, hit her head and was not moving according inmate, Krystle Harper. Officer Banks enters to check a pulse. Courtney did not have one. Medics treated her with chest compressions but were unsuccessful. The report was signed off by officer Teresa Burton. Now her family is seeking answers suspicious that the beating had something to do with her death almost 6 months later.
A discipline hearing notice was sent to Burton following the brawl. It it not confirmed to have happened. Pearl Central Mississippi Correctional Facility could not be reached for a quote.
David Ruth, Coroner of Rankin county spoke to Canyon News reporter and stated, “This is all news to me. I didn’t know about a videotape.” He said, “she died due to natural causes.”
Courtney’s sister, Samantha sent emails to Superintendent Ronald King several times informing him of what she had heard was happening.
A letter was sent from Congress to Mississippi Attorney General to look into the condition of the facility.
Courtney wrote a letter to a reporter asking for help during her time.
On a recorded phone call between Courtney’s sister, Samantha Coon and another inmate who was there for 32 years on a murder charge, Loretta Pierre, she reveals a story she experienced stating, “Officers brought her out handcuffed when she went to Max. She was handcuffed and they were just beating her. She was unrecognizable to me. I was in the van with her.” She told Samantha, “I witnessed that shit. Officer Hill, the one they fired. It was Lawson and it was Hill.” She told Coon, “I will testify for you.”
Canyon News reporter spoke with Courtney’s older sister, Jennifer Lungrin about the tape and she said, “We believe she passed due to having problems from the beating.”
Lungrin posted to her Facebook page, “We will be doing a protest just for Lisa very soon. I will keep everyone posted on the date.” June 8 she posted shirts for sale on her Facebook page with a photo of Lisa and a caption, “Justice For Lisa.”
Lungrin created a GoFundMe page and said “All money goes for fighting for Justice (Awareness etc.., and Legal Fees)” June 6, #JUSTICEFORLISA was posted to Facebook and along with the GoFundMe page. Justice for Lisa Courtney Facebook page currently has 33 total shares. Her GoFundMe page currently has $50.00 in donations.
Attorney, Lewis, confirmed, “We have not filed a lawsuit and I don’t even know that we’re going to do that. At this point we want some accountability and we want answers. Let’s bring it to the grand jury and put it all out there and let them decide if charges should be brought.”