A mother of eight is the fifth Black woman to be found dead in a jail cell since mid-July.
Mount Vernon, New York native Raynette Turner died in a Westchester County jail cell, according to Pix11. Turner, 43, was arrested for allegedly stealing crabs at a wholesale food store on Saturday. Police say the mother was going to be held until Monday for an arraignment, but was found dead that afternoon.
They say that on Sunday night she reported not feeling well and was taken by ambulance to a hospital, then returned to her cell a few hours later. The officials say Turner was found dead at 2 p.m. Monday.
Herman Turner says he doesn’t believe his wife was harmed by the police, but her medical needs were neglected. Turner’s medical history included hypertension and bariatric surgery. Mr. Turner waited for his wife at her arraignment at 4 p.m. on Monday. He and the rest of the family didn’t know she passed away until Tuesday, when detectives came to their home.
“I want somebody’s head to roll on this,” he said. “I am not going to rest until I get some type of justice for my wife. That’s the bottom line. No one said anything to me about my wife was downstairs, dead, they just let me sit in the courtroom all day long, waiting for her to come and be seen by the judge. I’m angry, very angry. Somebody needs to pay. Somebody really needs to pay for this. I’m sorry, I’m not going to let this rest.”
City officials claim this was Raynette’s third shoplifting arrest, but Mr. Turner says his wife didn’t have police troubles in over five years.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will investigate the incident. Governor Andrew Cuomo hired Schneiderman in July to oversee police-involved incidents that result in the death of an unarmed civilian. This will be first he’s handled after the position was inspired by the case of Eric Garner, an unarmed Staten Island man who died at the hands of a police officer last year.
It is unknown if Schneiderman will launch a full investigation.
Raynette’s autopsy is currently pending.
In total, five women, including Raynette Turner, have died in police custody:
Sandra Bland: The 28-year-old was pulled over by Officer Brian Encinia on July 10 for failing to use her turn signal in Texas. After an argument with Encinia, she was jailed. Authorities say she committed suicide on July 13. An investigation has been launched and Waller County officials have released several videos of her encounter with Encinia and her time in the jail cell.
Kindra Chapman: The Alabama native was arrested for allegedly stealing a cell phone and placed in the Homewood City Jail. She was charged with first-degree robbery on July 14 and found dead that afternoon. Chief Deputy Coroner Bill Yates determined Tuesday Chapman died from “asphyxia by hanging.” Yates said Chapman also screened positive for benzodiazepines and tricyclic antidepressants at the time of her death.
Joyce Curnell: The 50-year-old was jailed in South Carolina on July 21 on an outstanding warrant for shoplifting. She was found dead in her cell the next day. An autopsy is currently pending.
Ralkina Jones: After a domestic abuse incident with her husband, the Cleveland native was arrested on Saturday. Charged with assault, domestic violence, endangering a child, and criminal mischief, she was taken to the hospital after appearing “lethargic.” She was brought back to her jail cell at the Cleveland Heights Police Station and was found dead the following day. An autopsy found “no suspicious injuries” on Jones’ body.
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