WHITE PLAINS – A woman who died while in a holding cell at the Mount Vernon Police Department last July died of natural causes.
Raynette Turner, 42, was picked up by police hours earlier for shoplifting.
Because of the circumstances surrounding her death in the lockup, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Office of Special Investigations and Prosecutions conducted a seven-month investigation and the AG announced on Thursday that there was “no criminal culpability” in her death.
Unit chief Alvin Bragg said there was no indication of physical abuse in the autopsy findings. He said the autopsy found Turner died due to an enlarged heart with a contributing factor being drug abuse, an autopsy determined.
Schneiderman did propose several reforms to the processing, supervision, and arraignment of arrestees including expanding the availability of video conference arraignments to ensure that arrestees are arraigned promptly, regardless of when an arrestee is taken into custody; increasing the number of personnel authorized to fingerprint arrestees to speed the processing of arrestees; upgrading Mount Vernon policies to require in-person cell checks of arrestees, and; re-evaluating New York State minimum standards for arrestees who may require medical attention.
Prior to Turner’s death, she told authorities she did not feel well and wanted to go to the hospital. She was transported and returned to the holding cell.
Investigators from the attorney general’s office interviewed more than 40 witnesses, reviewed over 1,700 pages of medical records, including autopsy and toxicology results, and examined video evidence covering virtually the entire time Turner was in custody at the Mount Vernon Police Department.