When Shun Mullins went to his city department of health after the death of his mother, he had no idea his misery would continue. Now, the state official who used the opportunity to belittle and intimidate Mullins has lost his job after forty years in the department, according to a story in The Root.
Mullins went into the Tennessee State Department of Health to complain about the conduct of the Algood Fire Department after the death of his mother.
Mullins claimed the deputy fire chief refused to perform CPR on his mother in response to a 9-1-1 call because she was black and then later lied on medical records to cover up the incident. If that event wasn’t bad enough, it took a turn for the worse once Mullins met with state investigator William Sewell.
Mullins said Sewell began the interview by asking him if he’d ever been in the penitentiary.
“That was more than insulting to me,” Mullins said.
Sewell then went on to describe a long-ago graphic lynching of a black man in nearby Baxter, Tenn., according to Mullins.
Had Mullins been alone he would have had no proof. But Sewell made his comments to Mullins despite two others being in the room with them, including Sheryl Allen of the NAACAP executive board in Nashville.
Mullins reported Sewell’s conduct. Eventually the state’s investigation into its own investigator proved the merit of Mullins’ claims. Sewell was forced to resign or face termination, which he did.
“An internal Health Department investigation revealed the department believed Sewell told the story to put Mullins on the “defensive” and intimidate him because Sewell had close ties to many officials in Algood and possibly knew the deputy fire chief, who was being investigated,” News Channel 5 reported.
Andrew Scot Bolsinger won more than two dozen press awards during his journalism career. He is a freelance writer, author and operates www.criminalu.co, which is focused on prison reform. He can reached at [email protected]