Family of inmate who died four years ago pushing for attorney general to review case

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The family of a Beltrami County inmate who died nearly four years ago is pushing for Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office to review the case.

Hardel Sherrell’s mother, Del Shea Perry, said her son died on the floor of the Beltrami County Jail in September 2018 while suffering paralysis from Guillain-Barre syndrome.

“When we seen the footage, we seen they allowed him to lie on the floor for eight terrorizing, agonizing hours until he died,” said Sherrell’s uncle Trahern Crews.

“What we saw wasn’t just gross neglect, it was murder,” added Brian Herron, a pastor at Zion Baptist Church.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has been investigating the case.

Beltrami County Attorney David Hanson said the BCA handed over an “incredibly large case file” to his office about a week ago. He said the hard drive contains jail videos and documents.

Sherrell’s family rallied outside the attorney general’s office Friday, demanding that Hanson turn it over to Ellison for review, saying there is a conflict of interest.

“The Beltrami County Attorney’s Office cannot ethically proceed with determination of criminal charges against its own clients,” said Michelle Gross, president of Communities United Against Police Brutality.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS brought these concerns to Beltrami County Attorney David Hanson, who said: “I will treat this case just like any other case that comes through my door. I want to give it due attention. If there is a conflict, then we’ll determine who to conflict it out to.”

Hanson plans to reach out to the Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board for an opinion as well.

He said if there is a conflict of interest, the standard course of action would be to reach out to other county attorneys in the Minnesota County Attorneys Association to take the case. He noted that he has never used the attorney general as a conflict source before but “would consider it.”

Hanson did not give a timeline for how long it would take him to decide if he will refer the case outside of the county but said: “I want to make sure the right decision is made.”

Perry hopes to see action taken as soon as possible.

“That was my only child, and I’m saying today, enough is enough,” Perry said. “If they are not held accountable, again I tell you, it will continue. It must stop, and it must stop now.”

5 EYEWITNESS News reached out to Keith Ellison for comment. A spokesperson with his office said: “If the case is referred to the attorney general, he will strongly consider it.”