GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Travis Banks died while in the custody of the Guntersville Police Department in 2021 but the family is still searching for answers as to what caused his death.
His family says that they requested the jail video shortly after his death but have been turned away by the Marshall County district attorney’s office.
Banks, 32, died from injuries sustained at the Guntersville City jail according to records. The family and their attorneys are alleging department officials have withheld critical information about how he died. Banks according to his family, was diagnosed with an unspecified psychotic disorder in 2018. He called the police because his family says he was having an episode.
“Travis Banks dialed 911 which led him to the Guntersville Police Department,” family spokesperson Unique Dunston said. “He called for help and forty-eight hours later he died. We still don’t know why Travis Banks was even arrested in 2021.”
That is all the information that the family has left to go on. Jonathan Austin, an attorney for Banks’ family, said his family has heard several different stories. The family was told that Banks was put in a restraint chair after eating paint chips and trying to hurt himself. The family claims Banks was tased by officers.
“Show us the video if that’s the case because there is no trauma that we’ve seen or no subdural hematoma on his head or anything there that would suggest that he was even doing that to himself,” Austin said.
The family has filed a lawsuit but has not been able to obtain a subpoena to obtain investigation records on the incident because the judge in the case says the agencies have qualified immunity.
“We want to know what happened,” Dunston said. “Travis was a real person with real feelings and emotions, and we believe that he would have survived whatever happened to him if the police had given him the medical attention that he needed. That is what he called them for.”
On Saturday there are plans to celebrate the 175th birth of the city of Guntersville. The Banks family says they plan to attend but not in celebration but in protest until they find the answers as to how Travis Banks died in police custody.
Officials from the Guntersville City police department nor the Marshall County district attorney’s office have responded to News 19’s requests for comment.