A woman with a wide range of medical problems who was arrested last month for domestic violence, only to be mysteriously found dead in her cell, told jailers, “I don’t want to die in your cell” while she was being booked.
Ralkina Jones, 37, also gave jailers a breakdown of all the medications she was taking, voicing concerns that being forced off her medication could lead to her death as can be seen in a newly released video below.
But just over two weeks after her July 26 death, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office has yet to explain how she died, only saying that “the death does not appear to be suspicious,” and that an autopsy revealed no “suspicious injuries.”
The video shows Jones calmly explaining her medications and medical conditions and the Cleveland Heights police officer talking to her seems very understanding and willing to accommodate her need for at least certain medications.
But 15 hours later, she was found dead in her cell.
According to Cleveland.com:
Jones, 37, listed at least five medical conditions for which she was being treated.
Jones told the officers she suffered from postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), which causes lightheadedness and fainting upon standing up. She also said she was taking medication for seizures, ADHD and depression.
Jones also told police about a brain injury she received from abuse from her ex-husband, the man who Jones was accused of assaulting the night of her arrest.
Jones’ sister in an earlier interview also said Jones had a heart murmur.
The officers in the video were cooperative and friendly with Jones. One of them suggested moving her to a cell where she would have access to a phone to speak with her family. But he said her current cell was better situated for jail personnel to monitor her health.
Jones was taken to a doctor a few hours after the recorded conversation. A jail employee found her appearing “lethargic” the evening of July 25. She was evaluated and released within a few hours.
Police say they checked on Jones periodically throughout the night.
The next morning at 7:30 a.m., the jail administrator found Jones unresponsive in the bed of her cell. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Jones is only one of many jailhouse deaths surfacing throughout the country in the wake of the Sandra Bland jailhouse death in Texas. While it may appear to be an epidemic, the reality is, jailhouse deaths have always been common, but are just now receiving more attention as the media and the general public come to the realization that there are serious flaws in our criminal justice system.
Unlike the Bland case, where there is no video containing audio documenting her intake into the jail, allowing many to speculate about what may have happened, the video here at least shows Cleveland Heights police treating her with professionalism and appearing to be willing to accommodate some of her medical needs.
Even bodycam footage of her arrest, also posted below, shows the cops acting much more professional than the Texas state trooper who arrested Bland.