2 City Officials Ask State DOJ to Investigate Aleah Jenkins' In-Custody Death

Aleah Jenkins, 24, was arrested during a traffic stop on Nov. 27, 2018

Two members of the San Diego City Council are asking the State of California Department of Justice and the Office of the Attorney General to conduct an independent investigation into the in-custody death of Aleah Jenkins.

The 24-year-old San Diego woman died days after she lost consciousness during her arrest on Nov. 27. 

The San Diego Police Department took custody of Jenkins on an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for possession of methamphetamine. 

While in custody, Jenkins vomited. Officers called for paramedics to help Jenkins but she allegedly told them her stomach was just upset, so that call to medics was canceled, SDPD officials said.

While Jenkins was being taken to San Diego Police Headquarters, she showed more signs of illness and the officer pulled the vehicle to the side of the road to check on her.

At headquarters where officers prepared to book her into jail, Jenkins became unconscious. At that time, officers found a partially-opened bag containing 6.2 grams of methamphetamine.

Officers called for paramedics and Jenkins was taken to a local hospital.

On Friday, the San Diego County District Attorney's Office released video from the cameras worn by officers and said it is not pursuing criminal charges against the San Diego Police Department officer.

"We have determined that there is no evidence that the officer acted or failed to act in a manner that rises to the level needed to make him criminally liable," District Attorney Summer Stephan said.

City Council President Georgette Gómez and Councilmember Monica Montgomery are asking the California Attorney General to conduct an independent investigation. They are also asking that the San Diego Police Department take another look at its policies regarding calling paramedics and getting emergency medical help for people in custody.

Gómez said in a written statement that she is deeply troubled by the incident. 

"The video clearly indicates a decline in her wellbeing," she said. "We must all strive to do better to respect the basic human rights of everyone in custody."

Montgomery described the calls for help heard in the video as "heart-wrenching." 

"The treatment displayed in the video further supports the need to reform our policing policies," Montgomery said.

When NBC 7 reported the story in November, Jenkins was on life support and the case was under investigation by the department’s Homicide Unit.

She died nine days after her arrest.

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