Lawsuit filed in case of woman who died in SDPD custody
SAN DIEGO — A federal wrongful death lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the son of a 24-year-old woman who died in San Diego police custody last year.
The suit was filed Tuesday on behalf of the son of Aleah Jenkins, who passed out while being booked into jail, fell into a coma and died nine days after being arrested in a traffic stop in the 3700 block of La Jolla Village Drive.
Defendants include the city of San Diego, Police Chief David Nisleit, and officers Nicholas Casciola, Jason Taub and Lawrence Durbin, who were involved in her Nov. 27, 2018, arrest and transportation to jail. The city could not immediately be reached for comment regarding the litigation.
Jenkins was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over Nov. 27, 2018, for expired registration, during which time officers believed she had an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for possession of methamphetamine, according to prosecutors. However, the lawsuit alleges that the warrant was actually for Jenkins’ twin sister.
While still at the scene of the traffic stop, Jenkins fell ill and vomited, and during the ride to police headquarters, repeatedly pleaded with officers to get her help, the lawsuit states.
Police said medical personnel were called off from responding because Jenkins claimed she was only suffering from an upset stomach.
According to the lawsuit, officers neglected to take her to a hospital, passed three ambulances on the nearly one-hour drive from La Jolla to downtown police headquarters and did not secure any medical assistance for her despite “clear signs that (she) needed medical attention,” according to the complaint.
Officers also allegedly “refused to provide (Jenkins) with medical attention even when they were at the police station.”
The suit accuses Durbin of accusing Jenkins of “faking it” and telling her that she could be additionally booked for resisting arrest if she continued “faking.”
Jenkins passed out while being processed for booking at the jail and was transported to UCSD Medical Center’s critical care unit, where she fell into a coma and died Dec. 6.
A District Attorney’s Office investigation concluded in March that she died due to “extremely high levels of methamphetamine in her system,” and that the officers involved would not be criminally charged in her death.
Jenkins’ death prompted public protests, with her family alleging the officers ignored the severity of her condition, delaying possibly life-saving medical care.