The family of an Ohio woman who died in a Cleveland Heights jail nearly a year ago filed a federal lawsuit against the city this week, alleging police failed to check on her hourly and properly provide medication.
Ralkina Jones, 37, was found dead in a jail cell on July 26 after being arrested by the Cleveland Heights Police Department two days earlier following a fight with her ex-husband outside of a bar.
The suit against the city of Cleveland Heights, the police department and others was filed by Jones’ sister, executor of her estate, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on Wednesday.
An autopsy concluded that Jones died of “sudden cardiac death in association with postural tachycardia syndrome and obesity with amphetamine therapy” and the medical examiner ruled her death accidental.
Jones was taking five medications: one drug for blood pressure, an anti-epileptic, an anti-anxiety drug, the painkiller oxycodone, and the sedative zolpidem, according to jail records.
Officials have admitted discrepancies in jail records as to how often medications were given to Jones.
The lawsuit claims records indicate she was over-medicated by being given daily drugs more than once per day, or whether she got all the medicine as prescribed.
The suit also claims she went six hours without being checked on, in violation of jail standards. The suit says by the time Jones was found dead rigor mortis had already set in. The suit does not name a dollar amount.