Last week, Louisville resident Ta’Neasha Chappell died in custody of Indiana’s Jackson County Jail. She was 23-years-old. Her family has since hired Breonna Taylor’s legal team.

Chappell died at a hospital close to the jail after officials say she was found, unresponsive, in her cell. Lonita Baker is one of the attorneys on her case. She provided details about Chappell’s death during a press conference Thursday night.

Baker said she was ill in the hours before her death, but never received medical attention. 

“She had a fever that was severe enough for the Jackson County Jail to test her temperature every 15 minutes, but they did not see fit to get her proper medical care or call EMS at that time,” Baker said. 

She says the facility lacked basic sanitation, detailing inmates being placed in cells with backed-up sewage and denied showers.

“They would routinely give women only three sanitary napkins per week during their menstrual cycle. The conditions at the Jackson County Jail are what we describe as cruel and unusual punishment,” Baker said. “It was so bad that Ta’Neasha called her family and let them know ‘please get me out of here. If I can’t get out, I’m gonna die here.’ And, unfortunately, her greatest fear happened.” 

Baker also said there was rampant racism among guards and inmates at the facility. 

Family members added Chappell described several threats, including finding a noose where she slept. 

In a Facebook post, another attorney on the case, Sam Aguiar, called on the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department to explain injuries to Chappell’s face and to release video footage from the jail. While an autopsy and toxicology report have been conducted, the results are not yet available. 

Chappell had been held on bond since May. She was arrested and charged with in regards to multiple infractions including felony resisting arrest and misdemeanor reckless driving.

 

 

 

 

Yasmine Jumaa is WFPL’s race and equity reporter.