A 29-year-old woman died in police custody while being transported to jail Sunday afternoon, the Houston Police Department reportedly said. The woman was to be charged for public intoxication.
According to police, they responded to a call about a disturbance at a business in northwest Houston where they reportedly found the woman “acting erratically.” Emergency medical services with the Houston Fire Department and a supervisor with the police arrived at the scene to examine her, Houston Chronicle reported, quoting police spokesman Kese Smith.
The woman, who was white but not identified by name, was reportedly cleared by the paramedics. Smith, citing the officer who drove the woman to the jail, said "she was talkative for most of the ride there but upon arrival to the jail she was found to be unresponsive," the Chronicle reported.
The medical team was called again to check on the woman who was then reportedly transported to Ben Taub General Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
"It's our understanding ... she has a history of drug use, however in this particular case we're awaiting autopsy results," Smith reportedly said. The Houston Police Department's homicide and internal affairs division will reportedly investigate the death.
This is the second such custodial death involving the Houston Police Department in a week. A 32-year-old man was declared dead at Ben Taub on July 19 after he was arrested for dodging arrest the night before. The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences is conducting an autopsy on the man's death.
The news follows the death of Sandra Bland, who was found hanging in Waller County jail in northwest Houston, on July 13. Bland, a black woman, was a 28 year-old civil rights advocate from the Chicago area and was jailed for “assault of a public servant” after being pulled over for a traffic violation on July 10. Her family and friends allege foul play in her death.
Bland’s death was announced days before the anniversary of the death of 43-year-old Eric Garner who died while in the custody of the New York Police Department after he was reportedly put in a chokehold by an officer in 2014.