The New York City Board of Corrections is investigating the death of Rikers Island inmate Joseph Foster, the New York Daily News reported. He died on Jan. 4 at a hospital after guards had callously ignored his calls for help during a medical emergency, highlighting the widespread problem of preventable in-custody deaths.
“They should have acted sooner. He kept screaming, ‘I need a doctor! I need a doctor!’” Carlos Renta, a Rikers inmate recalled.
Jail supervisors took nearly an hour to call an ambulance for Foster, 51, after he complained about a massive headache and sudden numbness on his left side. Foster, who suffered from high blood pressure and diabetes, died five days later at Elmhurst Hospital Center. He had been serving a six-month sentence for a drug sale.
It’s no surprise that this happened at Rikers. The jail complex will forever be linked to the death of Kalief Browder, who’s abuse and neglect as a juvenile at the jail is well documented. He spent three years at the facility after being accused of taking a backpack in 2010. The jail’s infamous history prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio to announce its closure, which will take several years.
Foster’s case is all too familiar. At least 815 people died in custody from preventable causes in the year after Sandra Bland‘s death in 2015, a Huffington Post investigation found. In that yearlong period, 12 individuals with diabetes, like Foster, died in custody. At least one of those case resulted in a criminal conviction against jail officials. Of the 815 in-custody deaths, 27 percent were from natural causes and 31 percent from apparent suicide. Many in-custody deaths happened within days after arrest. At least 182 inmates died within three days, and 121 died from four to seven days after getting locked up.
31 Black Women Who Died In Police Custody
1. Kathryn Johnston, 92Source:Getty 1 of 26
2. Tarika Wilson, 26Source:Getty 2 of 26
3. Shereese Francis, 30Source:Getty 3 of 26
4. Shantel Davis, 23Source:Getty 4 of 26
5. Alesia Thomas, 35Source:Getty 5 of 26
6. Malissa Williams, 30Source:Getty 6 of 26
7. Darnesha Harris, 17Source:Getty 7 of 26
8. Shelly Frey, 27Source:Getty 8 of 26
9. Miriam Carey, 34Source:Getty 9 of 26
10. Yvette Smith, 47Source:Getty 10 of 26
11. Michelle Cusseaux, 50Source:Getty 11 of 26
12. Aura Rosser, 40Source:Getty 12 of 26
13. Tanisha Anderson, 37Source:Getty 13 of 26
14. Eleanor Bumpurs, 66Source:Getty 14 of 26
15. Natasha McKenna, 37Source:Getty 15 of 26
16. Janisha Fonville, 20Source:Getty 16 of 26
17. Meagan Hockaday, 26Source:Getty 17 of 26
18. Alexia Christian, 25Source:Getty 18 of 26
19. Sandra Bland, 28Source:Getty 19 of 26
20. Gynnya McMillen, 16Source:Getty 20 of 26
21. Symone Marshall, 22Source:Getty 21 of 26
22. Korryn Gaines, 23Source:Getty 22 of 26
23. Deborah Danner, 66Source:Getty 23 of 26
24. Alteria Woods, 21Source:Getty 24 of 26
25. Charleena Lyles, 30Source:Getty 25 of 26
26. Cariann Denise Hithon, 22Source:Getty 26 of 26
Inmate’s Death At Rikers Island Spotlights Jail Staff’s Disregard For His Life was originally published on newsone.com