Local News

Friend of inmate who died wants answers

Posted June 20, 2013

— The friend of an inmate who died earlier this month after an altercation with a Wake County Detention Center officer said Thursday he wants to know what happened.

Michael Watkins met Shon McClain about five years ago at the South Wilmington Street Center in Raleigh, a homeless shelter for men.

Watkins, who is no longer homeless, remembers his friend as a happy-go-lucky guy.

“He always had a beautiful spirit,” he said. “He always uplifted those around him, people that were homeless in the shelter. Really, it was hard to be sad with Shon around."

Watkins says the last time he saw McClain, it appeared he was turning his life around. But earlier this month, McClain was back in the Wake County jail awaiting a court date on misdemeanor charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and consuming a malt beverage on city property.

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office has said Officer Markeith Council was defending himself against an attack by McClain, and both men were injured. Council’s injuries were not life-threatening and he recovered at home.

McClain was taken to WakeMed with a broken neck. He died Monday.

The State Bureau of Investigation is investigation the incident and will turn over its findings to the Wake County District Attorney’s Office. Council remains on duty at the jail.

Watkins said the report of McClain attacking an officer doesn't sound like the man he knew.

“He always had such a pleasing personality,” he said. “He never seemed to be anyone that would take such an act of aggression like that.”

McClain's family has hired an attorney to look into case. The family is concerned that the officer involved was physically much larger than McClain.

The family said McClain's funeral will be held Friday.

112 Comments

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  • Templar Jun 24, 2:07 p.m.

    Ladies/Gentlemen. A video (The ALL SEEING EYE) is just that, it sees whatever its pointed at and never blinks . "As with all Law enforcement, Detention, Prisons, there must a neutral investigating force to report their finding of the incident". However, All officers regardless of rank, color, race, creed or religions have been proven guilty or innocent by the (ALL SEEING EYE) and judgment from 12 peers and judge. I did not sign up for a suicide mission so while backup is 10-76 in route business will be handle to the best of my training and ability. The goal Ladies/Gentlemen is leave work the same way you came in. So save your misinformed, civilian, comments to yourselves until all (ALL) the data has been presented. GOOD LUCK to all.

  • mrman2a Jun 21, 7:08 p.m.

    My friend that was a jailer was almost beat to death by one of these fine innocent inmates.Tell him your sob story(BOO HOO !)

  • jjsmith1973 Jun 21, 4:04 p.m.

    K you are more dramatic than anyone. Wasn't sure if he was going to make it home? Are you kidding from a job that isn't even the most top 10 dangerous. I understand that people use there im a cop all the time to seem as though their job is more dangerous than it is. If you narrow down even farther from a patrol officer to a correctional officer the job is even safer when it comes to number of injures and deaths on the job compared to more than a dozen other professions. Give me a break! Now if they are a cop in Camden, Compton, south Chicago, down town Detroit. I agree with there job ever day is more dangerous than others on any given day but sorry that isn't the case for most officers in the country.

  • Coach K is still GREAT Jun 21, 3:41 p.m.

    Junior - con'td... have to worry about looking over your shoulder and defending YOURSELF, b/c you know that no one else has your back, is a great reason to get out of it...and I for one am glad that i'm out of this "business", b/c of this reason...

    How dare you judge me, you don't know me, or what I've been through, I grew up with it, did it and glad to be out of it...

  • Coach K is still GREAT Jun 21, 3:38 p.m.

    Junior -
    cont'd
    tired of hearing from people that have never WORKED in the prison system and/or LEO, you say you have and I appreciate that.
    Don't preach to me about this and that, I've been there, dealt with it and thank god that I have been out of it for almost 8 years... the COUCH K thing, perhaps you should hear a person out before you accuse someone of talking out of the side of their mouth (like MOST people on here that have never "DONE THE JOB").
    I would think that you'd know where I'm coming from, i'm sure you have a family and at the end of the day, you do what you have to do, to get home to YOUR family, if this CO was in the wrong, then he should be punished for it!
    I can't tell you how many times my father would tell me he didn't think he was going to make it home to tuck me in at night or to see me off to school in the morning... the system is for the criminal now, you have to defend yourself and your actions, for everything, the state doesn't have your back anymore...

  • bill0 Jun 21, 3:30 p.m.

    "I think every citizen should have answers when something like this occurs. Maybe not during the investigation itself, but for sure at the conclusion."

    The prison has video of the incident. Attorneys for the family and friends are asking that it be turned over. The prison is refusing to do so and saying they are "investigating". Come on. How long does it take to watch a video? If the guard is innocent, clear his name and don't let him dangle in the wind like this. If he is guilty, then let him answer for his crimes.

  • Coach K is still GREAT Jun 21, 3:29 p.m.

    Couch k your excuses are played out. Those are always the typical responses to excuse excessive force. I was a military cop, my dad was and still is an county officer and a jailer at times they are short in the jail. All the go ride with them do their job, hope you don't need a cop doesn't fly for reason for excessive force, violating the law and safety of even prisoners. When you sign up for the job it isn't only responsibility to protect yourself the victims, it is also your job to protect the accused. If they can't handle that then they need to get out of the job. Funny how all the violent criminals in the prison system act up and don't get killed by officers securing them.

    Junior - my father is retired RPD and I myself, worked in the prison system for 15 years, and to be a a former military officer (thank you for your service by the wasy), I highly doubt that working with encarcerated soldiers and dealing with "criminals on the street" is the same thing... I am tired of hearing

  • djofraleigh Jun 21, 3:28 p.m.

    Don't we all want answers when someone under our forced care is killed? I do. I want to know excessive force was not used, and the force used was warranted.

    Being a prison guard/jailer has to be one of the most difficult there is, for I know they are wrongly abused and naturally despised by those locked up.

  • heard-it-all-before Jun 21, 3:26 p.m.

    "Well, actually why don't you stop being a back seat driver and go to work at one of the many correctional (behind a wall or fence) facilities in the Great State of North Carolina, or you can just continue to lean left in the people's republic of chapel hill."

    LOL!! nailed it. what can you do to help? for starters, go work there. that way you can decide which side really deserves help-- instead of letting wral decide for you

  • jjsmith1973 Jun 21, 3:04 p.m.

    Couch k your excuses are played out. Those are always the typical responses to excuse excessive force. I was a military cop, my dad was and still is an county officer and a jailer at times they are short in the jail. All the go ride with them do their job, hope you don't need a cop doesn't fly for reason for excessive force, violating the law and safety of even prisoners. When you sign up for the job it isn't only responsibility to protect yourself the victims, it is also your job to protect the accused. If they can't handle that then they need to get out of the job. Funny how all the violent criminals in the prison system act up and don't get killed by officers securing them.

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