A recently released surveillance video from Charleston County jail shows that police were aware of the fact that inmate Joyce Curnell was sick in her cell, but allowed her to die anyway.
Curnell, a 50-year-old black woman, died of dehydration on July 22, 2015 after repeated vomiting deprived her body of fluids. On July 21st, she had been taken to the hospital by ambulance after experiencing abdominal pain. She was arrested while at the hospital, due to an outstanding bench warrant for a 2011 shoplifting case. According to the The New York Times , Curnell’s son, called 911 and made them aware of his mother’s warrant, hoping that being arrested would help her detox from alcohol.
Video obtained by the Post and Courier, reveals that “many people” present at the jail saw Curnell throwing up and could tell she was ill, but no one took any action that may have saved her life.
In the video, Curnell appears ill from the moment she enters the jail.
“She was placed in a pod that was nearest the bathroom, due to her shaking so much whenever she walked,” wrote detention officer Charlene Jackson. “After a few minutes of being in the unit, she was in the bathroom throwing up.”
The officer who arrested Curnell, continues to say she showed no sign of illness.
The video shows Curnell repeatedly making her way to the bathroom. Once in the bathroom, she vomited and then spoke with a nurse for about a minute and a half. According to the nurse, Curnell said nothing was wrong.
Tylenol and Zofran were prescribed for the nausea, however she still continued to throw up mostly clear liquid.
Video shows Curnell falling back down each time she tried to sit up in her bed at 7a.m. An inmate reported that Curnell got progressively worse. Witnesses stated that Curnell attempted to drink water but could not keep it down.
“She seemed fine but weak,” wrote Kristen Cook, 41. “She laid down through the afternoon, still vomiting.”
“The last words she spoke … was she’s been having problems with blood pressure and threw up some more,” Cook said.
Curnell died in bed.