A final report from New York Commission of Correction recommends the cause of death for 27-year-old India Cummings be ruled a homicide.
Cummings died after being held at Erie County Holding Center in 2016. It was 16 days after arrest for stealing a car.
The state report claims the holding center was grossly negligent. It goes on to say Cummings was deprived of medical care and water. The report also states “her death was attributed to traumatic injury she received during her arrest and a prolonged period continual of medical neglect.”
The Commission also blamed the holding center for not keeping proper documentation of Cummings’ time at the facility. The deputy log book reveals Cummings was pounding on her door yelling for help and said she couldn’t breathe. However, Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard is challenging the state’s report and its findings.
“The report it it it it doesn’t necessarily establish the true. They’ve expressed an opinion. The ultimate trier of that or finder of that fact will be a court. This is pending litigation. So it would be inappropriate to comment further,” Howard said.
“That does not stop us from having a conversation. An open and honest and transparent conversation about the fact that 24 people have died while in the holding center under this particular sheriff,” Erie County Legislature Majority Leader April Baskin said.
Baskin said she’s fed up and that change is needed at the Erie County Holding Center. In fact, she met with the administration this afternoon. Baskin is holding a committee meeting in the Erie County Legislature Chambers on Wednesday, July 25th at 10am to discuss the report.
Late this evening a group of protestors gathered outside the center chanting “hey hey ho ho Sheriff Tim Howard gots to go.” They want the Erie County Medical Examiner to rule Cummings’ death as a homicide.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said if the case gets reopened and goes to trial, it would happen in another jurisdiction because of his conflict of interest.