Symone Marshall dies in Texas jail after being refused medical attention

22-Year-Old Symone Marshall and her daughter.
22-Year-Old Symone Marshall and her daughter.

Another black woman has died in U.S. police custody, due to horrifying police misconduct. On April 26th 2016, Symone Nicole Marshall was in a car accident, forced off the road by an unknown driver in an act of road rage. Her car flipped over several times before landing in a ditch. Marshall sustained considerable injuries from the accident, which under normal protocol would require the police to summon an ambulance to transport her to a hospital. However, police cited her driving without a valid license as reason to take her straight to county jail in Hunstville, Texas.

For two weeks, Marshall pleaded with her jailers to take her to a real hospital, because she did not feel well and was blacking out periodically. But Marshall was instead left to languish in jail (for a misdemeanor offence, which usually does not result in jail time under Texas law). On May 10th, Marshall died in jail due to a blood clot in her lungs, at the age of 22.

Her sister Honey Marshall spoke to the NY Daily News.

“I called the jail several times and requested for them to take her to a real hospital and they wouldn’t do so. If they would have done this, her death could have been prevented and my sister would still be here.”

Ongoing incidences of black women dying in police custody (such as Joyce Curnell) reveal a pattern of racist police brutality and gross negligence on the part of the entire criminal justice system. The mother of Sandra Bland (a woman who died in a Texas jail cell nine months ago after being pulled over for a minor traffic violation) recently spoke at the Congressional Caucus for Black Women & Girls, begging Congress to “wake up” and take action to prevent more black women from dying in jail.

Symone Marshall leaves behind a five-year-old daughter. Her family has started a GoFundMe page:

“We are seeking three things to help us: media attention on this issue, justice for the two weeks of gross negligence that resulted in her death, and donations toward giving Symone a beautiful funeral. We appreciate the love and support. #BlackLivesMatter”

Susan Cox

Susan Cox is a feminist writer and academic living in the United States. She teaches in Philosophy.