A 50-year-old woman was arrested in Charleston after failing to pay court fines. Unfortunately, the woman never made it out of jail.
The woman, Joyce Curnell, had suffered with nausea and vomiting on the day of her arrest. She had summoned an ambulance and was arrested at the hospital after it was discovered that she had a bench warrant. Curnell spent 27 hours in custody prior to her death.
According to her family, Curnell became sick during her time in jail and was neglected by jail staff. She was forced to vomit into a trash bag throughout the night. The family has filed a suit against the Carolina Center for Occupational Health, stating that her death could have been prevented had she been given water and attention for gastroenteritis. The family says that instead of attending to Curnell, jail staff refused to provide her with medical attention.
According to Dr. Maria Gibson of the Medical University Hospital, Curnell was too ill to overcome dehydration on her own. That and underlying complications contributed to the woman’s death. Said Dr. Gibson, “Simply put, Ms. Curnell died because she was deprived of water.”
Curnell died in July of 2015, during a year that saw at least six other African-American women died in the custody of law enforcement.
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