The family of India Cummings, a Black Lackawanna, N.Y., woman who died in 2016 after being held at the Erie County Holding Center in Buffalo, has filed a second suit naming authorities in Western New York in the young woman’s February 2016 death.
The family filed a claim on Feb. 1 naming 72 deputies for Cummings’ death, which took place at a hospital in Buffalo after she suffered a cardiac arrest in her cell. Cummings, 27, was arrested outside of her home in Lackawanna after calling 911 herself, but then attempting to take over a car from a motorist as police arrested her. She lingered in a holding cell for days and, according to her family, did not receive a medical evaluation that could have helped her.
Erie County authorities have said they cannot comment on the case because it is in litigation.
“How can 72 individuals come in contact with somebody who definitely needed some type of hospitalization,” Tawana Wyatt, Cummings’ mother, asked during an interview with WIVB Television.
“I don’t wish bad on anyone but in the event of the suffering that my daughter … endured under the watch of these people – these people that are supposed to have her safety in mind first or foremost, I just pray that they be brought to justice,” Wyatt told the station.
A state Commission on Corrections evaluation of Cummings’ arrest in Lackawanna and jailing in Buffalo found that she underwent some sort of deterioration while she was behind bars for multiple days as she refused food and visitors, sometimes walked around unclothed and sometimes slept on the floor.
An earlier suit filed by Cummings’ family names Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard and 12 more defendants.
Said Wyatt, “My prayer and my goal is for not another India to come through that holding center.”