The attorney for Lawrence Phillips’ estate told USA TODAY Sports Friday that civil rights attorneys will be hired to conduct an independent investigation into the death of the former football star who was facing murder charges.
Attorney Dan Chamberlain said he is “highly suspicious’’ because of a note the coroner said was in Phillips’ sock when Phillips was found unresponsive Jan. 13 at Kern Valley (Calif.) State Prison. Phillips, 40, died after he was rushed to a nearby hospital.
Phillips’ mother, Juanita, and two attorneys who represented Phillips in the murder case, Jesse Whitten and Clayton Campbell, are among those who have examined the note. Whitten and Campbell told USA TODAY Sports the handwriting did not match the handwriting in letters they received from Phillips, who was accused of killing his cellmate last year.
Whitten and Campbell said the note had writing on both sides.
One side “said, and this to the best of my recollection, ‘Did you hear the one about the football player who hung himself from the TV mount in his cell?’ ” Campbell told USA TODAY Sports. “And where it said football player, it looked like somebody after the fact put the letter ‘X’ before ‘football,’ so it said ‘X-football player.’ ”
Whitten described the other side as containing a quote or racist joke.
“It was something like, ‘What’s the black person do?’ And it ended with like, ‘They should just die,’ ’’ Whitten said. “It was kind of dark, but it could have pertained to the attitude of how he was being treated (in prison).”
Dana Simas, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), declined to comment on the note, saying, “I have no background about that.’’
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: USA Today, Josh Peter and A.J. Perez