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Former Charlotte reggae artist dead in Prince Georges County jail

Samuel Shields, former Charlotte resident, lost his life disputing a $2 public transportation fare in Prince Georges County, Maryland.
Samuel Shields, former Charlotte resident, lost his life disputing a $2 public transportation fare in Prince Georges County, Maryland.Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Aspiring reggae artist Samuel Shields, known onstage as “Pot Cova”, was a recent Charlotte resident who relocated from metropolitan Washington, DC, with his wife Regina 2 years ago, hoping for a better livelihood. They recently returned to Prince Georges County, Maryland, only for Shields to die in Southern Prince Georges Hospital on June 17, 2014, following a dispute with police which started over a $2 public transportation fare.

The cause of death has not yet been officially determined, but Shields, 49, had several health issues including heart disease. He was held and pepper sprayed by Metro Transit Police. The official charges were theft of less than $100, resisting arrest and hindering a police officer. Currently Metro Transit Police are not discussing this event.

Washington based CBS affiliate reported that Yolanda Evans, jail representative, described Shields as “unruly throughout the intake process.” He was subsequently separated from other staff and inmates. It was noted, however, that no jail staff was injured while handling him. An “undetermined medical episode” caused his death some 10 hours after his arrest.

Mrs. Shields, the grieving widow, when interviewed by the press, indicated that she felt in her heart that “foul play” caused her husband’s death. Seeing the condition of her husband’s body was a severely shocking experience.

A witness who wishes to remain anonymous reported that when she was inside the detention center, she noticed Shields walking around the processing area. When he stood still and did not cooperate when asked to put on an orange jump suit, 6 additional officers came in and handcuffed him.

We could see them kicking, applying force with their fists, with a club, we could see them just hitting him.

The witness continued,

He was screaming ‘murder, bloody murder', and then he stopped screaming.

Officers then panicked. The one who was "beating him the worse" administered CPR while pleading with Shields, “Come on, breathe for me, breathe for me."

The eyewitness’ description does not match what police initially said; she regretted not coming forward sooner, adding that she was shocked that they did not “tell the story as it was.”