Family of Ohio woman who died in holding cell files lawsuit


CLEVELAND (AP) — The family of a Cleveland woman who died in a jail’s holding cell last year has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming her civil rights were violated.

Ralkina Jones’ family accuses officers at the Cleveland Heights jail of failing to check on her every hour and causing her to be improperly medicated, Cleveland.com reported (http://bit.ly/29HUY7m).

The federal lawsuit was filed Wednesday against the city, and says the jail also improperly logged when Jones’ was given medication and there are gaps in jail surveillance footage.

“Despite Ralkina Jones’ clear request that her health needs be properly managed, the Defendants did not take her needs seriously, characterizing her requests as her ‘acting up,’ and failing to follow established standards regarding the documentation of administration of medication,” the lawsuit said.

Jones, 37, was arrested in June 2015 after police said she hit her former husband with a tire iron. She died two days after her arrest. The Cuyahoga County medical examiner ruled her death an accident and said she died of sudden cardiac death related to health issues.

The city’s law director said he hadn’t seen the lawsuit and declined to comment.

Body-camera footage shows Jones expressing her health concerns and stressing that she needs to take medications.

But the suit said, “By the time she was discovered, she was dead, with rigor mortis already setting in, as well as lividity in her lower extremities, fingertips and torso, indicating that she had likely been dead for a number of hours before emergency medical treatment was sought.”

The family is seeking damages and wants the city to establish a policy to prevent similar deaths.

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Information from: cleveland.com, http://www.cleveland.com

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