‘I don’t want to die in your jail cell’ – Mother pleads with cops hours before she is found dead

A mother found dead in her jail cell last month can be seen in newly released bodycam footage telling officers she feared for her life before being locked up.

Ralkina Jones, 37, was found dead in Cleveland Heights Jail on July 26 shortly after being arrested for allegedly assaulting her abusive ex-husband.

In footage released today by Cleveland Heights Police, Ms Jones can be seen telling cops ‘I don’t want to die’ 15 hours before she was found unconscious.

Speaking to one of the officers, Ms Jones, who has an 11-year-old daughter, says: ‘I’m not asking for any exception to any rule, but I will tell you this. I don’t want to die in your jail cell.’

In the five-minute clip, edited from half an hour of footage, Ms Jones can be heard telling officers at length about a range of medical conditions she suffers from and medication she has to take.

According to Ms Jones, she was being treated for seizures, ADHD and depression, and had previously suffered a brain injury at the hands of her ex.

She can also be seen telling officers she suffers from postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a potentially debilitating condition which can cause patients to faint or become lightheaded while standing up.

Officers, one of who identifies himself as Jeff, can then be heard discussing potential withdrawal symptoms with her, deciding which medications she needs to keep taking while in her cell.

In another section of the footage, one officer can be heard discussing which cell to keep her in.

He says: ‘There is a female cell available and there’s a phone that you can call on, my only concern is that with your health issues it is easier to keep you here only because here it is harder for you to disappear.’

According to Cleveland.com, Ms Jones was given a full health check by officers before being checked into her cell, and officers checked on her throughout the night.

However, at 7.35 the morning after the footage was shot, Ms Jones was found unconscious in her cell and was pronounced dead at the scene.

A full autopsy report has yet to be released, but medics said there were no signs of suspicious injuries on the body.

After watching the footage, Renee Ashford, 31, Ms Jones’ sister, told Mail Online: ‘It’s just so sad, that she was describing her own medical conditions, letting them know that she didn’t want to die.

‘That was the first time my sister had ever been in a jail cell and she didn’t deserve to die in there.

‘She was the oldest of seven sisters and she was my role model. We had a very special bond between us and it just hurts.

‘The family are trying to get together and just get the cries out, because we’re going to have to put our armor on and fight for her soon.

‘We all have young children, so we have to make sure they are all OK. Ralkina’s daughter is the strongest 11-year-old I know.

‘She’s doing OK. I mean, she needs support and she needs counselling but right now she’s doing fine. She’s such a strong person.’

Speaking about the police response to her sister’s death, she added: ‘They’re just not telling us anything, right now the media know more about this than we do.

‘We’re having to find out everything about her death through the media. They wouldn’t even let us see her. They said because she was incarcerated she didn’t need to be identified.

‘What am I supposed to tell my niece, that her mother’s dead and I haven’t even seen her?

‘We had to get the body released to a funeral home before we could see her. The only time I got to see her was when me and my sister did her nails before the funeral.

‘It was sad because it had to happen so quick and there were lots of people who weren’t able to come and say goodbye.’

She added that she has since quit her job working for the local school district, a position she held for ten years, in order to cope with the stress and to give her time to fight for justice for her sister.

Ms Ashford said she hopes her sister’s death will mean police change their policy around prisoners who need medication while behind bars, saying they are ‘vulnerable’ and need extra care.

Cleveland Heights Police said they will not be commenting any further following the release of the footage.

In a previous statement, released at the time of Ms Jones’ death, the department said: ‘Our thoughts are with Ms Jones’s loved ones at this time of loss.’

Source: The DailyMail

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