Protesters hold march over Charleston Co. jail inmate's death

Protesters hold march over Charleston Co. jail inmate's death
Protesters march downtown over the death of Joyce Curnell. (Source: Live 5)
Protesters march downtown over the death of Joyce Curnell. (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Demonstrators took to the streets of downtown Charleston Friday, marching from Marion Square down King St. to protest the July death of a Charleston County inmate.

Protestors said they are calling for more accountability from law enforcement over the death of Joyce Curnell.

Curnell died at the Charleston County detention center last July.

"This is a repeated type of incident that continues to occur in jails across the country," Khari Lucas, one of the protest's organizers said. "It feels as if the people in positions of power continue to abuse their power, and those that are in place to check them and monitor them are simply shrugging it off. It's infuriating."

On Wednesday, Curnell's family filed a notice of intent for a malpractice lawsuit, which claimed the jail's medical center staff failed to properly treat her for dehydration.

Curnell was arrested on July 21, 2015, at Roper Saint Francis Hospital after dispatchers received a tip from Curnell's son that she had an active bench warrant for shoplifting, according to a statement from the Charleston County Sheriff's office.

According to the lawsuit, the failure of staff to provide care to Curnell in a timely manner contributed to her death:

"Despite the fact that medical staff had been informed on at least two occasions of Ms. Curnell's open and obvious medical condition that included 'continued vomiting, increased abdominal pain, weakness, dizziness, drowsiness' as described in the discharge instructions from hospital as indications requiring 'PROMPT ATTENTION,' in complete and total disregard of the Roper St. Francis Hospital Discharge Instructions, the medical staff employed with CCOH refused to provide any medical attention to Ms. Curnell whatsoever. The failure to provide timely medical care to Ms. Curnell was grossly negligent and directly contributed to her untimely death."

The Sheriff's office says the State Law Enforcement investigated the incident and ruled the death natural.

More than 30 people joined Friday's demonstration. Protesters said they are standing up for basic human rights, including those of inmates in police custody.

"We want people to understand that this is not okay," protester Andrew Costa said. "And emphasize that this should not happen to anyone
and it shouldn't have happened to Joyce Curnell."

March organizers said Friday's demonstration is the first of more to come.

Copyright 2016 WCSC. All rights reserved.