Agencies: Richmond City Justice Center Virginia
Last updated: 8 months ago
When Richmond police officers took Erin Jenkins to jail on a Friday night in 2014, her parents could not bring themselves to tell Jenkins’ 3-year-old daughter where her mom was or why she was not coming home.
A week later, they found themselves faced with a far more impossible task: telling young Gabrielle Jenkins that her mother was dead.
Guards at the just-opened Richmond City Justice Center found Jenkins unresponsive, “ice-cold” and without a pulse in her cell on Aug. 2, 2014, two days after she was transferred away from the general population because she had been hallucinating, according to a lawsuit filed by her family in federal court.
The 28-year-old was pronounced dead at VCU Medical Center hours later.
In the cases of Mitchell and Jenkins, jail officials have said videotape footage taken near their cells no longer exists.
An attorney representing Mitchell’s family said he asked the jail’s superintendent to preserve the video 14 days after his death.
However, a jail official said it was not saved because it did not show any type of criminality or negligence. The only people who saw the video before it was recorded over are employees of the jail, the official said.
The system used by Hampton Roads Regional Jail at the time automatically recorded over video every 18 days.
Richmond jail investigators allegedly saw the video taken inside and around Jenkins’ observation cell, but the footage was not preserved, according to a motion filed by Seth Carroll, an attorney representing Paige Jenkins.
In April, Carroll sought access to the jail’s video servers in the hopes that a forensic specialist could find old video.
Woody initially asked the judge to prevent the forensic specialist from making a copy of the jail’s video server, but later withdrew his request.
Last week, Carroll said the forensic investigator is still sifting through the video.