No Charges Against Officer in Aleah Jenkins’ In-Custody Death: DA

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

The San Diego County District Attorney's Office announced there would be no criminal charges brought against the San Diego Police Department officer who had a woman overdose while in his custody.

Aleah Jenkins, 24, was arrested during a traffic stop on Nov. 27 on La Jolla Village Drive for an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for possession of methamphetamine, according to the San Diego Police Department. 

At a news conference on Friday, the DA offered a first look at footage from body cameras worn by responding officers.

During the arrest, police said Jenkins “became ill” and vomited. The SDPD said officers called for paramedics to help Jenkins but she allegedly told them her stomach was just upset, so that call to medics was canceled.

While Jenkins was being taken to San Diego Police Headquarters, she showed more signs of illness and the officer even pulled over 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.

The SDPD said officers called for paramedics and Jenkins was taken to a local hospital.

Police said controlled substances were found hidden in Jenkins’ clothing, leading investigators to suspect she may have experienced an overdose.

Detectives learned that someone she was with prior to being pulled over gave her methamphetamine to ingest so that it wouldn't be found.

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.

"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.

Friends, family and community activists don't buy it, and say the officer should spotted the signs of an overdose and should have done more to get her medical attention sooner.

"This man heard her in distress," Jenkins family friend Tasha Williamson said. "He saw her, why would he pull over? No officer pulls over on the side of the road. He didn't check her pulse, he didn't check to see anything."

"We are people," Williamson added. "And they got to have consequences and unless they have consequences they will continue to treat us like we are less than human beings."

Jenkins' family says their next step is to file a civil lawsuit. 

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