Similar to a string of recent unfortunate events, another Black woman has died while in police custody.
However, this time around, foul play may not immediately be suggested, as was the case with Sandra Bland, as the woman had a lengthy list of preconceived health issues prior to her arrest.
Ralkina Jones, 37, discussed her medical needs with Cleveland Heights jail officers in a video filmed roughly 15 hours before they discovered her dead last month, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reported.
“I’m not asking for any exception to any rules, but I will tell you this: I don’t want to die in your cell,” Jones said, pointing at the room where she was later found dead.
Her initial autopsy revealed “no suspicious injuries,” and Cuyahoga County medical examiners are still investigating her exact cause of death, police said. But Jones’ family wants answers after officers found her unresponsive on July 26. Jones was charged with assault, domestic violence and child endangerment after a fight with her husband two days earlier, cops said.
She told officers in the video she needs to take pills such as a generic version of the anxiety medication Xanax, the anti-epileptic drug Gabapentin and the ADHD drug Adderall. She suffers from migraines and concussions to her brain, she said. And her postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome is “my main concern,” she told the cops.
“What happens is, when I go from a sitting to a standing position, I faint,” she said.
The officers noted her prescriptions and one told her they were holding her in a nearby cell to ensure her well-being, rather than keeping her in a female cell elsewhere at the jail.
The officer advised Jones to meet with the jail’s victim advocate about her husband’s abuse “even though you’re arrested in this case.” Another cop promised she wouldn’t be yelled by jail officers again for trying to take her medication.
“I sympathize with you,” the officer wearing the body camera said. “I addressed them about it. That won’t happen again.”
Later that day, jail officials arranged for Jones to be examined at a hospital when she looked “lethargic,” police said. Medical staff at HealthSpan evaluated and released her, according to cops. She came back to the jail at 10:40 p.m.
Around two hours later, paramedics checked Jones’ vitals again and found them normal, police said. Officers checked her regularly throughout the night, but she was discovered unconscious just after 7:30 the next morning. Cleveland Heights Fire Department paramedics pronounced her dead at the jail, police said.
Jones’ family had seen her in good health the day before, and her sisters viewed the jail footage of her with a reporter from WKYC-TV on Tuesday.
“Someone’s going to answer to it. If not, everyone’s going to answer to it, because you can’t just do this,” one of her sisters told the TV station.
“She was a human. She was a mother, a sister, a daughter, a cousin, a great mother, a great sister. She wasn’t supposed to die in no jail her first time going to jail.”
Do you think the police officers should be suggested of foul play in this situation? #MakeAStatement