Man found dead in back of SCSO squad car identified, investigators say

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — UPDATE:

SCSO has identified the man found in the back of an SCSO squad car as Earnest Coleman.

According to SCSO, they looked at video and conducted interviews to determine how Coleman ended up in the back of one of their cars.

FOX13 first reported that SCSO found the body Wednesday morning.

SCSO said they found that Coleman, 75, entered an unoccupied Juvenile Court pool car that was parked on Washington Avenue through the back door.

SCSO said the man was not in their custody. They say he is often in the area.

Because he was not in their custody, SCSO will continue to investigate his death.

A medical examiner still needs to determine Coleman’s cause of death.

This is an ongoing investigation.

ORIGINAL STORY:

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a man’s body was found in the back of a deputy’s car.

The body was discovered Wednesday morning near the Hospitality Hub on Washington Ave.

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SCSO gave FOX13 this statement:

“The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a man discovered in an unoccupied Sheriff’s Office vehicle this morning near the Hospitality Hub on Washington Ave. The investigation is ongoing.”

FOX13 pressed SCSO for answers on if the man was in custody, how the body was found and if the deputy who was driving the car will be suspended.

On all of our questions, SCSO said, “this is an ongoing investigation.”

After getting this information confirmed from SCSO late Wednesday night, on Thursday, FOX13 continued to try to get answers from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office about what led to the death of a man found in the back of one of their cars.

The department continued to only say that it is investigating the death of a man discovered in an unoccupied sheriff’s office vehicle.

Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner said the faster the department can come out and say what happened, the better.

“Obviously because a deceased person was found in the back of one of the squad cars, so they have to make sure there was no foul play,” Turner said. “Was the individual suffering some type of health trauma? And should that person have received more immediate attention?”

A woman who did not want to be identified because of fear of retaliation told FOX13 when she discovered the body in the back of the vehicle, she immediately screamed, “he’s dead.”

“I’m hopeful that we’ll get all of the facts as soon as possible and we won’t be left to ponder or wonder what has occurred,” Turner added. “As an attorney, I’ve dealt with cases where people passed and dealt with lawsuits on both sides. Both plaintiff and defendant, and so obviously you have to think what kind of health trauma may have occurred and could it have been prevented.”

FOX13 also reached out to the office of Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris to get a comment.

All of our calls went unreturned.