[Current Events/Opinion] When Will It Stop?: The Death of Symone Marshall [Written by Brandon Williams]


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If you are like me then you are noticing a pattern forming regarding police-related deaths and the steady increase taking place in the United States. Both men and women are dying at the hands of those whose purpose is supposed to be “to protect and serve.” I’ve noticed that police officers tend to gun down black men and boys in the streets with no fear of the consequences and black women are consistently being physically abused and murdered while in police custody where the visibility is low and the narrative is easier to control. And while many people/police officers claim that there is NO systematic plan or strategy that precludes this increasing string of killing minorities, that fact that another story like this has emerged and will continue to is making it more difficult to view their words as anything other than empty and blame-shifting. Symone Marshall was pronounced dead on Tuesday, May 10th after spending two weeks in a Huntsville, TX jail. She died from a blood clot in her lung after reportedly being denied the medical care that she needed. She was in a car accident while riding with a friend two weeks prior after allegedly being run off the road down into a ditch, flipping their vehicle 3 times before it came to a stop. When police arrived on the scene, they reported that the two women showed no physical injury and that they even signed a waiver refusing medical care on the scene of the accident when offered. The police also reported that they’d found cocaine in the car, and to add insult to injury, Ms. Marshall had provided them with a fake name when asked. The two women were arrested on drug charges and Symone was also charged with not providing proper identification. Symone’s passenger and friend, Amanda Arnold posted bond the next day and was released, but Symone was unable to afford her bail, set at $5,000. She remained in police custody until two weeks later, when the surveillance cameras captured her having a seizure in her cell. She was taken to Huntsville Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead later that day. Ms. Marshall’s sister, Honey, claimed that when she would talk to her sister while incarcerated Symone would complain of having headaches and blacking out on several occasions. The family states that Symone did, in fact, request to be taken to a hospital but was denied at every turn until it was too late. Honey Marshall also stated that she had placed numerous calls to the jail requesting that her sister be taken to the hospital but was also denied, with Detective Brad Fullwood of the Walker County Sheriff’s Office stating that Symone had been seen by both the resident physician and a nurse a week prior to her death and reported no physical pain or any other complaints. The case is being investigated by the Texas Rangers to make sure that there is no further evidence of wrongdoing. And while the full autopsy has yet to be released, it has been reported that there were no signs of physical injury on her person at the time of her death.