Officials investigating after Tunica Co. Jail inmate dies

Officials investigating after Tunica Co. Jail inmate dies

TUNICA CO., MS (WMC) - Mississippi Bureau of Investigation agents are investigating the death of an inmate in Tunica County Jail this month.

Tunica County Sheriff's Office officials said Derek Smith was arrested for resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, and public drunkenness. Smith was arrested last week after a fist fight at a bar in Robinsonville.

Investigators said Smith was a father of a young son and was with his girlfriend when he was arrested. He was knocked unconscious during the fight.

Tunica County Chief Deputy Randy Stewart said when they arrived, Smith refused to have a medical assessment. Deputies were willing to let Smith leave, but said he became very combative.

Investigators said they had to stun Smith twice in the leg. The first time failed to get him under control, and he was put in handcuffs after the second.

Investigators said they do not know what happened after Smith was booked in jail—something MBI is investigating.

Smith never had a mug shot taken, and was in jail for more than 15 hours before he was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. From there, he died.

Last July, Donnie Clay was found dead hanging in his cell about 30 minutes after he got there for a domestic violence charge.

An MBI spokesperson said investigators are waiting on the results of an autopsy on Smith. His cause of death has not been determined.

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