Sarah Reed was incarcerated in 2012 for allegedly shoplifting in London’s Regent Street. While in jail, she was a victim of police brutality that was caught on camera. Officer James Kiddie was caught on CCTV dragging Reed by her hair while punching her in the face.
According to activist Lee Jasper, “the Reed family received a phone call on the 11th [of] January 2016 from Holloway Prison informing them that Sarah was dead. They were told that Sarah had ‘strangled’ herself whilst lying on her bed, which from all accounts appears an almost physical impossibility.”
The Independent reports that the Prisons and Probation and Ombudsman has launched an investigation into the cause of her death. The British Ministry of Justice has not yet confirmed any details of how she died.
A spokesperson for the Prison Service told the Independent:
“HMP Holloway prisoner Sarah Reed was found unresponsive in her cell at 8am on January 11. Prison staff attempted CPR, but she was pronounced dead shortly after. As with all deaths in custody, the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation.”
After the death of her newborn in 2003, Reed experienced a mental breakdown that she would never recover from. Jasper also reports that she was sexually assaulted in 2014 while staying in the London mental health hospital in October.
Reed’s death is reminiscent of Sandra Bland’s and countless others who have died in prisons under mysterious and suspicious circumstances.
It has been 23 days without coverage of her death by major British media outlets. Twitter users took note and were taken aback by the apparent media blackout.
— African Renaissance (@JJ_Bola) February 3, 2016
The mainstream British media have said nothing about #SarahReed
— George The Poet (@GeorgeThePoet) February 3, 2016
— Jacob Michael Mason (@Jacobmason21) February 3, 2016
Despite it's flaws social media has too many strengths to be ignored. Those who are often left invisible are now very visible. #SarahReed.
— Jay-J (@JayJGarrett94) February 3, 2016
— hoochie mama (@Awkward_Duck) February 3, 2016
— Echoing Ida (@EchoingIda) February 3, 2016
— MarX Agabo (@artistmarciax) February 3, 2016
Reed’s family will lay her to rest February 8th.