11 People Dead in Police Custody This Month

Originally published on July 29, 2015, at NationofChange.org

At least eleven people have been killed or found dead while in police custody this month. According to autopsy reports, their deaths have been ruled homicides, suicides, and in some cases remain medically inconclusive. Several investigative agencies have launched probes to determine whether any officers will face criminal charges for these deaths.

After engaging in a violent altercation with her ex-husband, Ralkina Jones, 37, was arrested on July 24 and taken to the Cleveland Heights City Jail in Ohio. Cleveland Heights Police Chief Jeffrey Robertson claims that Jones was being treated for several medical conditions and received her prescription medications as directed. But on the following day, a jail administrator noticed that Jones appeared lethargic and transferred her to a hospital.

Jones remained in the hospital for roughly three hours while receiving treatment for possible blood sugar and blood pressure conditions. At 10:40 p.m. on July 25, Jones returned to her jail cell with reportedly normal vital signs. The next morning, guards found her dead inside her cell. After performing her autopsy, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner found no suspicious injuries to Jones’ body but admitted that further studies were required to determine a cause of death.

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Revised Dash Cam Video Shows Arrest of Alleged Suicide Victim

Originally published on July 23, 2015, at NationofChange.org

Pulled over for making a lane change without signaling, Sandra Bland was forcibly removed from her car and arrested because she refused to put out her cigarette. Three days later, Bland was found dead inside her jail cell hanging from a metal hook. On Tuesday, Texas officials released the dash cam video of Bland’s arrest, but some of the footage appeared to be edited and missing. To dispel any speculation that the video had been doctored, the Texas Department of Public Safety recently released the dash cam footage in its entirety.

Around 4:30 p.m. on July 10, Sandra Bland was driving through Waller County, Texas, when Officer Brian Encinia pulled her over for failing to signal during a lane change. After giving her driver’s license and insurance card to Officer Encinia, Bland remained in her vehicle while Encinia spent several minutes in his patrol car running a background check on her. After exiting his patrol car, Encinia approached Bland’s vehicle and began writing out a warning.

According to the dash cam footage, Encinia immediately observes that Bland is irritated. Bland explains that she doesn’t understand why Encinia is giving her a ticket for getting out of his way when he was speeding up behind her. When Encinia asks Bland to put out her cigarette, she responds, “I’m in my car. Why do I have to put out my cigarette?”

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