“I don’t want to die in your cell.”
Ralkina Jones spoke these haunting words just hours because dying in Cuyahoga County Jail. She is one of five women of color who died in police custody during the last two weeks of July 2015.
The 37-year-old was being held on charges of assault, domestic violence, and child endangerment after a fight with her husband—all grievous offenses, if true. But none of that could possibly justify her last hours on earth.
She pleaded with the jail officials, explaining how she needed her regular prescribed dose of Xanax, Adderall, and Gabapentin (an anti-epilepsy drug), and detailing how they needed to be properly administered. She had been diagnosed earlier for a heart disorder called orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, and was receiving treatment for concussions.
But her cries were roundly ignored. Hours after a video of her was taken, in which she chillingly remarked that she didn’t want to die in jail, a medical professional found that she appeared lethargic.
She was discharged on the night of July 25th, returned to her cell, but still not given the required medication. The next morning, the guards discovered her dead.
Her family insists her medical issues were under control prior to her arrest and maltreatment:
“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.”
There’s a reason that the hashtag #IfIDieInPoliceCustody went viral. Sandra Bland has been gone for a month now, but her story continues to echo. History keeps repeating.