With attention still focused on Sandra Bland’s mysterious death in a Texas jail cell, four other deaths involving the police and jail are making their way into the national consciousness.
Raynetta Turner, 44, is the most recent of the jail deaths. After being arrested for shoplifting, Turner was found dead in a holding cell Monday, July 29 in Mt. Vernon. Mayor Ernest Davis said Turner reported that she had a number of medical issues when she was arrested, including a bariatric surgery and a history of hypertension.
Turner, who leaves behind nine children, was taken to the Montefiore-Mount Vernon Hospital for treatment the day before her death. As with the other cases, her death raises multiple questions.
“All I know is my wife is dead and no one is saying anything,”said her husband, Herman Turner, according to ABC7 news.
Cleveland police officers (who were already in the news for their actions during a “Black Lives Matter” protest) have been given the proverbial side-eye by activists after the death of 37-year-old Ralkina Jones July 26.
According to the incident report, Friday, July 24, Jones smashed the driver’s side window of her ex-husband Brandon Jones’ Ford Expedition, parked in front of his place of employment. Brandon came out to stop her and she scratched his face and hit him with a tire iron. After Brandon and a friend managed to get the tire iron away from Jones, she got into her car and tried to run them over.
The police also stated that Jones’ 12-year-old daughter, Kayla, was in the back seat during the incident.
The report stated that Brandon didn’t want to press charges against his ex-wife. However, Jones was arrested and charged with felonious assault, domestic violence and child endangerment, and then taken to the Cleveland Heights City Jail. Cleveland Heights police said Jones was put in a cell Friday night with blood on her body but no serious injuries. Police officials said Jones appeared lethargic the next day and was taken to a local hospital for examination before being brought back to the jail.
However, for some reason not explained by the police, paramedics were called a second time an hour after Jones was placed back in her cell, and they found her vital signs to be normal.
After allegedly being routinely checked on throughout the night, Jones died Sunday morning. An autopsy conducted by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner determined there were no suspicious injuries. There’s still no exact cause of death.
The third police/jail-related death is one that closely mirrors Bland’s. July 14, 18-year-old Kindra Chapman was found dead in a Homewood, Ala., jail cell of a reported suicide. According to local authorities, Chapman allegedly hanged herself with a bed sheet.
Officers booked Chapman into Homewood City Jail at 6:22 p.m. that evening. She was charged with a first-degree robbery charge for theft of another person’s cellphone. According to other jailers, Chapman was last seen alive at 6:30 p.m. She was found unresponsive at 7:50 p.m.
The Black Lives Matter organization posted a video to their Facebook page of an interview conducted with Chapman’s father and paternal grandparents, who dispute the police version of events.
In every aforementioned scenario, it’s the word of police against someone who is no longer here.
This Friday, the Black Community Forum will host a panel entitled, “Black Women Under Attack!” The panel will feature Amsterdam News Editor Nayaba Arinde, December 12th Movement Chair Viola Plummer and Nation of Islam member Fatima Turner. December 12th Movement member Amadi Ajamu will moderate. For more information, log on to www.sistasplace.com or contact 718-398-1766.