Yet another Black woman has died in police custody, adding to the frightening trend of young women entering jails alive and leaving in body bags.
A 22-year-old mother died at a Texas jail after receiving no medical care for injuries she sustained in a serious car wreck two weeks earlier, the New York Daily News reports. Thus far, authorities have been tight-lipped concerning what happened to the young woman.
According to her family, Symone Nicole Marshall was involved in a severe car accident on April 26. Her car flipped over multiple times before finally landing in a ditch.
Per the New York Daily News, Marshall was then transported to the Walker County Jail in Huntsville, Texas rather than a local hospital. Her sister, Honey Marshall, revealed to the news site that the young mother called from jail and told her someone had run her off the road.
According to the GoFundMe page set up by Honey Marshall and another sister, Toni Pruitt, Symone Marshall was detained by police and received no medical attention because she didn’t have a valid driver’s license.
“My sister Symone moved to Texas for a fresh start in life a few months ago,” said Honey Marshall. “She was doing good down there, had a job and was about to buy a house. She’s a beautiful person, never been in trouble before and didn’t deserve this.”
There are no reports that state where Marshall was originally from.
Honey Marshall says that her sister, who has a 3-year-old daughter, repeatedly complained about her head hurting and that she kept blacking out. Marshall was held for two weeks at the local jail, where she died on May 10 due to a blood clot in her lung, according to Honey Marshall.
“I called the jail several times and requested for them to take her to a real hospital and they wouldn’t do so,” Honey told the New York Daily News. “If they would have [done] this, her death could have been prevented and my sister would still be here. My heart hurts so bad. She was my best friend. I am so angry that they did this to her.”
According to the New York Daily News, authorities refused to comment or offer any additional information concerning the accident. Marshall’s family also says they have received little detail about what happened to their loved one.
Marshall’s death adds to the string of African-American women who have died while in police custody. Natasha McKenna, 37, died after she was restrained and repeatedly Tased by police. The Daily Kos reports that officers used so much force that McKenna’s “eyes were blackened, a finger was amputated, she was covered in bruises, and never woke up again” due to the numerous electrical shocks.
Then, in July 2015, Sandra Bland died in a Texas jail after being pulled over, arrested, and detained for refusing to put out her cigarette. Her death was initially ruled a suicide, according to the New York Daily News.
The news site also reported the death of 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen, who mysteriously passed away at a juvenile detention facility after she was arrested. Guards, who are supposed to check on inmates every 15 minutes, didn’t do so until it was too late.
Per the New York Daily News, 1,207 people were killed by American police in 2015, but most estimates are that a number two or three times that size represent in-custody deaths.
So far, Marshall’s GoFundMe page has received $1,290 in donations.
Per an interview conducted by independent journalist Kevin M. Oliver with a Walker County Sheriff’s Department official, the 22-year-old mother did NOT die while in police custody.
Captain Steve Fisher, who is a Walker County Jail administrator, says that Symone Marshall and a white female passenger were involved in a single car accident on April 26, 2016. Both women exited the vehicle “under their own power and without assistance,” Oliver’s article states.
EMS and a state trooper then arrived on the scene, after which Marshall and her friend were evaluated by medical personnel. Fisher says the women had no visible injuries and both signed waivers acknowledging they didn’t need medical attention.
Fisher also asserts that at some point during the investigation, Marshall gave the Texas state trooper a false name for fear of being a “wanted person.” Drugs and drug paraphernalia were also discovered in the 22-year-old’s car.
Marshall and the other female were then transported and booked into the Walker County Jail.
According to Fisher, Marshall faced charges of felony possession, misdemeanor possession, and failure to identify, which all added up to a total of $5,000 bond.
Once at the jail, Oliver’s article reports that the young mother was given a standard medical exam and seen by both a doctor and a nurse. At the time, she had no complaints about her health and confirmed it on a questionnaire, the article states.
Marshall and the other female passenger appeared before a magistrate judge the next morning. The passenger was able to make bail but Marshall was not, so she remained at the jail.
Two weeks later, inmates say the 22-year-old experienced what was described as a “seizure” on May 10, according to Oliver’s article. Medical staff arrived soon after to treat Marshall and confirmed that she still had a pulse.
Marshall was then taken to a local hospital where it was also documented that the young woman had a pulse. Shortly after arriving at the hospital however, Marshall was pronounced dead, according to Fisher. Autopsy results have not been released yet.
Atlanta Black Star had a chance to speak directly with Captain Fisher, who confirmed all of the above details and provided us with more information.
The Walker County Jail administrator said Marshall complained she wasn’t feeling well on May 3, upon which a doctor was brought in to examine her on May 4. Unable to reveal what the young woman was seen for, he confirms Marshall was treated and cleared.
Fisher also acknowledged that anonymous callers, presumed to be Marshall’s family, have contacted him demanding answers, but left no name or number to call them back at. He asserts that he has never spoken to or heard from Honey Marshall, Symone’s sister.
This story will continued to be updated as we receive more details.