The Mysterious Prison Death of Anthony Myrie
|thenorthstar||Feb 21, 2019|
Anthony "Trey" Myrie (Instagram)
Anthony “Trey” Myrie was athletic, healthy, and exercised every day. But on Feb. 11, Myrie, 24, died mysteriously after a supposed altercation with other inmates at Greene Correctional Facility in upstate New York, where he was less than three months into a seven-year sentence.
The cause of Myrie’s death is one of many questions his friends and family have had over the last week. Myrie is the second incarcerated man to die at the state prison in the past four months, and there are conflicting stories about the events that led up to his death. An autopsy showed signs of sudden cardiac arrest and Myrie’s body “had no signs of trauma,” the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) said in a statement.
“I don’t know what to believe about that,” his wife, Sade Myrie, told The North Star. “My husband was healthy. He played basketball. He would lift weights. This was something daily for him.”
The circumstances around Myrie’s death were first publicized by a close friend on Instagram. The post detailed the events leading to his death and noted that Sade Myrie was struggling to figure out her husband’s whereabouts on Monday, Feb. 11. The post said that she had spoken to Myrie at around 11:15 a.m. and that he “seemed stressed.”
Sade said that her husband told her about how prison staff treated incarcerated people but that he never seemed to tell her the whole story. “He always told me to be aware,” she said. “His main word was that ‘they play for keep.’”
On the day of his death, Sade said that Myrie didn’t want to get off the phone. With one minute left on their call, he said, “I’m just going to stay in the phone booth for a while.” Sade said, “I was like, ‘Wait a minute, talk to me. Tell me what’s going on, call me back.’ And he was like, ‘Nah, it’s nothing I can’t handle.’ … And he didn’t call me back.”
Around 2 p.m., she learned from the family of another inmate at Greene that Myrie was placed in “the box” — solitary confinement. “So on this day, I decided to call and see what happened…. But they told me he wasn’t in ‘the box,' he was in the regular population,” she said.
Around 4:30 p.m., Sade was told that her husband was in critical condition. About an hour later, according to the post, Sade received another call saying that he had died and that Myrie’s body had been sent to Albany Medical Center. When Sade called the hospital, she was told they had no record of him being admitted. It was unclear where Myrie’s body was.
“I’m just scrambling. I’m on the phone with the person [at the prison who is] in complete denial. She’s telling me, like, ‘There’s the number that they gave me and there’s nothing I can do for you right now,’” Sade continued.
According to the DOCCS statement, Myrie was examined by medical staff after the altercation and had no injuries. He was then moved to a “holding area” where he was interviewed by security staff, and that’s when he “complained of chest pain,” the statement said.
“Mr. Myrie was immediately returned to the medical unit for further evaluation when he collapsed, unconscious and unresponsive,” the statement said. “At that point, medical staff began emergency response and called for outside emergency medical services. He was transported by ambulance to Albany Medical Center for further treatment where he was, ultimately, pronounced dead.”
It took at least four days for Sade to get confirmation of where Trey’s body was. “I was torn. I’m still torn. I don’t know what happened to him,” she said.
Sade credits her lawyer and social media for helping her find her husband. The Instagram post chronicling the events first circulated among Myrie’s friends and family, and was later shared by rappers Meek Mill and Cardi B, among other high-profile figures. “Had it not been these posts, these reposts, and people just not letting up, who knows when I would’ve been able to see my husband,” Sade said.
On Instagram, Cardi B claimed that she had once visited someone at the prison and saw an incarcerated man with a black eye from an officer beating. “Ya been doing it FOR YEARS AND BEEN GETTING AWAY WITH IT,” she continued.
The DOCCS spokesman said that Myrie was involved in a three-on-one fight with other incarcerated men, which was stopped by corrections officers who “issued verbal commands” and didn’t use force. Sade said she was told that none of the incarcerated people involved in the fight were injured. She also said that Trey was trying to break up the fight.
The Department said it could not comment on an ongoing investigation but that it “is providing additional facts on the death of Anthony Myrie given the abundance of misinformation in circulation.”
Sade doesn’t know who or what to believe, but needs answers. “I want to know everything. Were they responding to his needs when everything happened? I also need autopsy results,” she said. “I also know that something wasn’t right when I would get those phone calls.”
On Saturday, friends and family gathered in Flatbush, Brooklyn to hold a candlelit vigil where they sang and eulogized Myrie, and vowed to continue pushing for answers.
“A lot of people are going to say that [Myrie] was a criminal and he deserved what he got,” Meshach Dunning, a close friend of Trey, told The North Star. “But how many other people gotta die before you start doing something?”
Myrie was convicted of attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in New York City and sentenced to seven years in prison. He began his sentence on Nov. 15, 2018.
About the Author
Anthony Rivas is a journalist from Brooklyn who writes primarily about health disparities, minority health conditions and LGBT issues. His writings have appeared in several outlets, including Newsweek, Prevention, BuzzFeed News, and ABC News.