Woman’s death in Paterson, NJ police holding cell under investigation
PATERSON – The state Attorney General’s Office is reviewing the death of a woman while she was in the custody of the Paterson Police Department on Friday.
The identity of the 57-year-old woman was not being released as of Tuesday.
An officer was doing a prisoner check around 6 p.m. and found the woman unresponsive while lying on a bench in a holding cell, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Emergency medical personnel were called to the department and she was pronounced dead shortly after.
The woman had been arrested on Thursday afternoon on a charge of possession of crack cocaine, according to state authorities.
Jameek Lowery case
Three years ago, the death of man while in police custody in Paterson sparked a strong community response, as the man had live-streamed frantic video from Paterson police headquarters before being brought to a hospital, at which point he lost consciousness.
He was pronounced dead two days later.
In the case of 27-year-old Jameek Lowery, the state medical examiner's office said that pre-existing medical conditions combined with Lowery's ingestion of bath salts triggered "an adverse physical reaction including multiple organ failure and cardiac arrest."
Lowery had voluntarily showed up at police headquarters very early on Jan. 5, 2019, after calling 911 twice before and saying that he had taken ecstasy and was paranoid, according to the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office, which carried out that review, while "consulting" with the Office of the Attorney General.
Police said they used force on Lowery during the ambulance ride to the hospital, as he "became physically combative" with the officers. The overall investigation found that Lowery’s death was a medical event and not the result of police use of force.
His family has rejected those findings and has repeatedly called for the case to be reexamined.
Last month, Black Lives Matter Paterson called on the state Attorney General’s office to reopen the investigation into Lowery’s death while in police custody.