Joyce Curnell, 50, of S.C. Died In Police Custody

Joyce Curnell, 50, died in police custody in S.C. after being denied water. According to The Post and Courier, Curnell’s family reports she was arrested for failing to pay court fines on July 21. She was being treated for gastroenteritis at Bon Secours St Francis Hospital. The next day she died in the Charleston County jail.

Too Weak To Call For Help

Curnell’s name is added to the growing list of black women “suspiciously” dying while in police custody. She was without water and violently sick from an intestinal bug that produces painful abdominal gas and mimics the flu. Curnell was likely dehydrated and in excruciating pain the last 27 hours of her life. She didn’t eat, was too weak to call for help, and was not offered water.

Winning Case

The Post and Courier also reports a notice has been filed by Curnell’s family.The notice seeks to sue the jail’s contractor- the Center for Occupational Health. Citing expert opinion from a local doctor who says,

“More likely than not, Curnell’s death would have been prevented if she had been properly treated for gastroenteritis and dehydration.”

A lawsuit should follow, if a settlement is not reached. While a monetary settlement won’t bring Curnell back, it will send a message. It lets people know we are not going to let this keep happening without fighting back.

Any Allies For Black Women?

Where is the outcry for Curnell from white feminists? From black males? From decent human beings? The killing of black women in jail, at home, abroad and worldwide has got to stop. Curnell being denied water is a disgrace.

Black Women Demand Respect

The policing of black bodies means that a black woman can’t even get a glass of water. A frigging glass of water! It means she dies in police custody. Essentially, Curnell died in an outlawed “debtors prison.” Without an outcry and demand for justice, white supremacy wins. I won’t let that happen. I #SayHerName #Joyce Curnell #BlackWomensLivesMatter

Featured Image Facebook March for Joyce Curnell

C. Imani Williams is a human rights and social justice activist. She writes to empower and give voice to those silenced through systematic oppression. Her work has appeared in Between the Lines, Michigan Citizen, Tucson Weekly, Harlem Times, Dope Magazine and various news and popular culture blogs. Follow the unapologetically black political culture critique @ and