Sunday, December 5, 2021

Family of Woman Found Dead in LAPD Jail Cell to File $35M Claim for Damages

wakiesha wilson
Wakiesha Wilson

*Carl Douglas,  best known for being one of the defense attorneys in the O.J. Simpson murder case, has announced that he’s filing a $35 million claim for damages in the death of 36-year-old Wakiesha Wilson on behalf of her family.

Wilson, an African-American woman, was found dead in her cell at an LAPD jail on March 27, 2016 and it would be days before her family was notified. Her death along with that of Ezell Ford and countless others in Los Angeles have been a rallying cry for the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter.

On March 27, 2016, Wakiesha Wilson was found dead in her jail cell at the LAPD Metropolitan Detention Center, located at 180 N. Los Angeles St., Los Angeles, CA. 90012. Her family is asking questions and seeking answers to how and why she died. The family knows she was alive, well and in good spirits earlier that morning. At some point between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. that day, Ms. Wilson sustained serious injuries and damages to her mind and body resulting in her death. This Claim for Damages is her mother’s first step toward answering those questions concerning Wakiesha’s death.

carl douglas1
Attorney Carl Douglas

On Saturday, March 26, 2016, Ms. Wilson called her mother Lisa Hines from her jail cell. Ms. Wilson was in good spirits and after explaining that she had been arrested for a minor crime, asked that her mother come to court that following Tuesday when Ms. Wilson expected to be arraigned and then released. She spoke of looking forward to Ms. Hines picking her up, and driving her back to her home to Moreno Valley.

The next day was Easter Sunday. Ms. Wilson called her mother early that morning at about 7:30 a.m. During that conversation, Ms. Wilson was again in good spirits, and wished her mother a Happy Easter. Since that was also her aunt Sheila Hines Brim’s birthday, and Ms. Wilson wanted to send birthday wishes, Wakiesha promised to call her mother back later that day when her aunt Sheila would be there celebrating her birthday. Ms. Wilson had great love and affection for her aunt Sheila, and was intent on calling her mother back later that day so she could be sure to wish aunt Sheila a happy birthday. During this conversation, Ms. Wilson reminded Ms. Hines again of her scheduled court appearance in two days, and expressed her anticipation of being released and returning to her home.

Ms. Hines traveled to the Criminal Courts Building on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 expecting to be reunited with her daughter. Court staff told Ms. Hines, however, that her daughter’s name was nowhere to be found on the court’s arraignment docket. She questioned Court personnel about her, but no one had any useful information about Wakiesha Wilson. Days later Ms. Hines learned from the Los Angeles County Coroner that her daughter was found dead in her jail cell on Easter Sunday, only minutes after completing the call with her mother.

The claim for damages asks for $35 million dollars and alleges that Ms. Wilson was deprived of her rights by her jailers and members of the Metropolitan Detention Center’s mental health staff acting under color of law including her right against to be free from excessive and unreasonable force; her right to access to mental health and medical care and treatment for serious but treatable mental health conditions; and her right to adequate and reasonable security, monitoring, supervision, classification and housing for her mental health and medical disabilities, each of which was also a potential cause of her death.

Early this year the Department’s Inspector General Alex Bustamante released an audit citing numerous deficiencies at the $80 million 160,000-square-foot state-of-art Metropolitan Detention Center including that cell block checks didn’t comply with minimum standards and expectations.

 

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