About 100 people attended a rally Thursday in Fort Lauderdale to support a family who's been demanding clearer answers and more details into the investigation of an inmate who died after spending time inside a Broward jail.
The family of Kevin Desir is demanding an independent investigation into the 43-year-old's death. They also filed an emergency request with the Broward court Monday for the immediate release of surveillance footage of the incident they believe lead to his death.
“No mom should have to bury a child,” said Kevin Desir's mother, Sercilia Desir.
State Attorney Harold Pryor let the Broward Sheriff's Office know that in addition to their investigation, an independent team of investigators should examine what happened to Kevin Desir.
“Mr. Sheriff, you’re in office to protect and serve," Moses Desir, Kevin's brother, said at the rally. "Y’all did not protect and serve my brother ... Far too many people in this county deal with mental illness, and when something like this happens to them and an excuse is made, they don’t have the family support so it's brushed underneath the rug."
Kevin Desir's family told NBC 6 that the 43-year-old, who had bipolar disorder, lived a productive life for two decades and cared for his two daughters when he wasn't working.
"He was a major asset to society, showing that someone overcame the stigma that aligns with mental health," said Mikco Desir, another one of Kevin's brothers.
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BSO said Desir, who was being held after he was arrested for possessing marijuana, cut himself, and went into a rage, biting deputies -- and when he was placed in a restraint chair, he became unresponsive. BSO said it immediately took action to save him.
The family believes what BSO says doesn't make sense and wants to see the video to see surveillance footage for themselves, but so far, BSO isn’t sharing it.
“My mom lives to see her grandson die at 96 years old," Sercilia Desir said. "What a shame in this country. What a shame. I am crying daily ... That’s too much."
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony previously said that should an investigation reveal that a deputy committed wrongdoing, they will be disciplined.
“If there’s nothing to hide, give us what we are asking for to show people that they made the right choice by electing you. That’s it," Moses Desir said. "It’s just that simple, and again, what happened to Kevin should not have happened. It hurts like hell.”
"I promised the family that I would get to the bottom of this — that we would get the video and we would find out what happened to Kevin," said the family's attorney, Jeremy McLymont. "If not for them, especially for his two little girls.”
There may be a hearing next Monday over the release of the surveillance video. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement would conduct the independent investigation.