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Tragedy Strikes Again for Family of Anton Black

Brandon Jackson, brother to Anton Black, looks on as his sister, Monique Sorrell, addresses reporters in a church in Greensboro last month. Photo by Glynis Kazanjian

Tragedy has struck again for the family of Anton Black, the Caroline County teen who died during a physical struggle with police last September at the foot of his front door with his mother looking on.

Black’s 32-year-old brother, Brandon Justin Jackson, died Saturday of a possible drug overdose.

At approximately 2 p.m. Saturday, officers from the Ridgely Police Department – whose chief was one of three officers investigated in Black’s death – responded to the 500 block of Sunset Boulevard to the report of an adult male in cardiac arrest.

There, in an apartment unit, officers found Jackson, Black’s older brother, unconscious.

Ridgely Police Chief Gary Manos said officers and emergency service personnel administered extensive life-saving measures for at least 30 minutes, including CPR and the application of Narcan, a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses, but efforts were unsuccessful. Jackson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Manos said he has no information on the cause of Jackson’s death, but he does not suspect foul play.

“Mr. Jackson’s body was taken to the chief medical examiner’s office in Baltimore for an autopsy,” Manos said Monday in an interview. “I know the family doesn’t look at me in a good light right now, but I am going to do my very best for that family because it’s devastating what’s happened to them.”

Manos said he wants Jackson’s autopsy results expedited, after Black’s family had to wait more than four months to receive the medical examiner’s report on the 19-year-old’s death.

Black died Sept. 15 after being pursued by three white police officers and a white civilian following a 911 call reporting Black was dragging a 12-year-old boy down Greensboro Road against his will. The boy’s father said his son was scared and felt threatened at the time of the incident.

Chief Medical Examiner David Fowler said sudden cardiac arrest was the cause of Black’s death, which was complicated by a bipolar diagnosis. Fowler also said it was likely the struggle with police contributed to Black’s death, which he said is best certified as an accident.

Less than two weeks ago, Jackson sat in a rural Greensboro church with eight family members demanding justice for Black’s death. The family met with media following a private viewing of the police body camera footage worn by Greensboro Police Officer Thomas Webster IV, one of the officers involved in the incident.

“They killed him with his hands behind his back,” Jennell Black said of her son. “I want them to pay for what they did.”

After an investigation by the Maryland State Police, Caroline County State’s Attorney Joseph Riley (R) said there is currently not enough evidence to establish probable cause to seek an indictment against the officers. Greensboro Police Chief Mike Petyo has resigned.

Black’s family, through their attorneys and the ACLU of Maryland, is seeking an independent investigation by the Maryland State Prosecutor or the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Oh Brandon you are missed so much already,” Jackson and Black’s sister Monique Sorrell posted on Facebook Saturday evening. “I’ve been blessed with so many brothers but you were always the one to say ‘I’m Good Sis’ with a smile even when you were not. You would always ask if I was ok no matter what you were dealing with. We never parted ways without an ‘I love you’ and when I saw you Monday we did just that. Just know that I will always love you.”

Glynis Kazanjian is a freelance writer. She can be reached at [email protected].




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Tragedy Strikes Again for Family of Anton Black