Cleveland suburb upgrades recording system after jail death

AP News
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Posted: Oct 09, 2015 1:14 PM

CLEVELAND (AP) — A jail near Cleveland has upgraded its surveillance system after questions were raised about gaps in a video of a woman who was found dead in her holding cell in July.

The cameras previously recorded only when motion was detected and sometimes might have overloaded the system, Cleveland Heights City Manager Tanisha Briley said.

"While the original system and settings met industry standards when installed and are still commonly used today, the DVR system has been upgraded to assure that activities inside the jail are recorded and documented at all times," Briley said in a statement.

The recording issue was raised after Ralkina Jones, 37, died in her cell over the summer. Jones was found unresponsive in her cell around 7 a.m. on July 26. She was jailed two days earlier after her ex-husband told police she'd hit him with a tire iron and had tried to run him over with her car.

Paramedics had taken Jones to a medical clinic the night before she died because she appeared lethargic. Police say they continued checking on Jones after she was returned to jail.

Police body camera footage showed the Cleveland woman talking about medical problems she had, including seizures and a heart condition, and saying she didn't want to die in a jail cell. But surveillance video of her cell had no footage from the six hours before she was found unresponsive.

The medical examiner hasn't ruled on her cause of death but says Jones didn't have suspicious injuries.

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This story has been corrected to show the jail is in Cleveland Heights, not Cuyahoga Heights.