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Christopher Furlong

Body Of Veteran Who Died In Police Custody Returned To Family Missing Organs

On April 7, 2018, Everette Palmer Jr told his family he was on his way to New York to visit, but would first stop in Pennsylvania to settle an outstanding warrant stemming from a 2016 DUI. According to CNN, that was the last time anyone spoke to Palmer.

Two days later, the Palmer family was notified Everett died in police custody at the York County Prison. Their suspicions were only heightened when the 41-year-old's body was returned to them sans his throat, heart, and brain.

Now the family is demanding answers after being given the run around by officials. Civil Rights attorney Lee Meritt said Palmer's death "smacks of a cover-up."

While speaking with the outlet, Meritt said prison and county officials haven't provided any answers. However, York County Coroner Pam Grier alleges the family is well aware of what happened to the U.S. Veteran's organs.

"There were never any missing organs," Gay said. "The lab that does our autopsies has the organs. Coroner's offices don't always have a morgue or a forensic pathologist. We contract those services out. We utilize a team in Allentown. That's who retains the specimens. They don't always tell us what they retain. We made that clear to the family from the beginning."

Grier also said it's common to remove a person's throat "to make sure there wasn't any kind of component that caused asphyxia."

Merritt countered Grier's statement. "It's not unusual to take organs out of a body during an autopsy, especially if you believe they were subject to trauma. The highly unusual part is to misplace them."

An initial autopsy said Palmer died "following an excited state" in which "he began hitting his head against the inside of his cell door" and was restrained by law enforcement. The report later states he became irritated due to "methamphetamine toxicity" and a  "probably sickling red cell disorder"

Palmer's family tells CNN he didn't have any health issues leading up to his death, and the report of him harming himself is completely out of character for the father of two. Palmer's brother Dwayne said Everette may have been a big guy, but he was a gentle giant.

"He joked around a lot. He was the life of the family," Dwayne Palmer said. "He wasn't a perfect person, but certainly not somebody that's a rabble-rouser, fighting, starting trouble or anything like that. He was a loving person."

Speaking on behalf of the family, Dwayne said he wants to know what happened because the information doesn't add up.

"We don't believe anything (officials) are telling us at this point," he said. "It's a tremendous loss for our family. We are devastated."

On the morning of Palmer's death, he was taken to a clinic where it was determined he was unresponsive. He was then transferred to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. Dwayne said his brother was trying to rectify a legal matter nothing more.

Dwayne continued: "If he was being processed for something that he did wrong in terms of the DUI -- he should be held accountable for that -- but it shouldn't be a death sentence, certainly inside of a jail," his brother added. "We know that there are good people in that prison system. We appeal to them to come forward and share what they know."

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Tashonna Ward: 25-Year-Old Woman Dies After Waiting Hours In ER

The family of the 25-year-old Wisconsin woman are seeking answers following her tragic death earlier in the month. Tashonna Ward, a daycare worker whose newborn daughter died last year, passed away after waiting nearly three hours in the emergency room at Wisconsin's Froedtert Hospital where she sought treatment for chest pains and shortness of breath.

Ward checked into the ER at 4:58 p.m on Jan. 2, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. During the wait, hospital staff checked Ward’s heartbeat and she underwent an x-ray, the latter of which showed that she had an enlarged heart.

She was sent back to the waiting room.

"I been here since 4:30 something for shortness of breath, and chest pains for them to just say it’s a two to SIX hour wait to see a [doctor]. Like that is really f***ing ridiculous,” Ward reportedly wrote on Facebook according to NBC News.

Ward left Froedtert to go to another hospital at around 7:30 p.m., but never made it. She collapsed soon after and was rushed back to Froedtert where she was pronounced dead.

“How can you triage someone with shortness of breath and chest pain, and stick them in the lobby?" Ward’s cousin, Andrea Ward, said according to the Journal Sentinel. Andrea launched a Go Fund Me  account to raise funds for her cousin’s funeral.

A rep for Froedtert expressed condolences over Ward's death . “The family is in our thoughts and has our deepest sympathy,” a rep for the hospital said in a statement. “We cannot comment further at this time.”

Ward had previously been told that she developed an enlarged heart during her pregnancy. Her baby died last March after the baby’s umbilical chord wrapped around the its neck.

Although heart disease is the leading cause of death among men women in the U.S., the risks are even higher for black women. According to 2017 statistics, nearly half of black women over the age of 20 battle some type of heart disease.

Black women are also at higher risk of dying from pregnancy complications. While there are several variables at play (like a lack of access to proper health care), the larger issue is that black women are often “undervalued,” noted Dr. Ana Langer, director of the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in an interview with the American Heart Association.

“[Black women] are not monitored as carefully as white women are,” said Langer. “When they do present with symptoms, they are often dismissed.”

Ward’s family are reportedly scheduled to meet with the hospital next week. The hospital has received numerous online complaints over the years, many of which involve billing issues but also treatment and long wait periods.

A Yelp review  posted last year warned patients not to believe the 23-minute wait time touted at the hospital. The woman and her ailing child left the hospital after waiting for six hours “without being evaluated other than a [five-minute] ‘triage.’”

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Atatiana Jefferson’s Mother Dies In House Where Daughter Was Killed

Yolanda Carr, the mother of Atatiana Jefferson, died in the same house where a Texas cop killed her daughter. A family lawyer announced Carr’s passing on Thursday (Jan. 9).

“We just learned Yolanda Carr, the mother of #AtatianaJefferson, passed away in her home early Thursday morning,” attorney S. Lee Merritt tweeted adding that Jefferson, 28, was killed by a Fort Worth officer “while serving as the caregiver for Ms. Carr who had recently taken ill.”

The family has been left “devastated” by the loss. Further details surrounding Carr's death were unavailable at press time.

“This is why we call police brutality genocide,” Merritt tweeted. “It is akin to a public lynching. It impacts the entire community. It is domestic terrorism under the color of state authority.”

Yolanda’s family is devastated. This is why we call police brutality genocide. It is akin to a public lynching. It impacts the entire community. It is domestic terrorism under the color of state authority. https://t.co/KyRtR7aG6X

— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) January 10, 2020

Jefferson, who would've celebrated her 29th birthday this past Thanksgiving, was killed last October by Ft. Worth Sheriff's deputy Aaron Dean. Dean shot Jefferson through the window of her home while she was playing video games with her nephew. Police were responding to a neighbor’s call about a door being open at the location when Dean opened fire on Jefferson. Dean resigned from the department after the fatal shooting. He has since been charged with murder.

A month after Jefferson was killed, her father Marquise Jefferson died of a heart attack, which his spokesperson said was a result of the death of his only child. “I can only sum it up as a broken heart,” said Bruce Carter. “He had to go through so much just to get through the services as a father, and continually doing good to make sure that who he was in their relationship was something he could honor.”

Carr, who was hospitalized after Jefferson was killed, responded to Dean's murder charge in an emotional video recorded from her hospital bed. “We’re going to miss her this Christmas, but I’m so glad that they finally indicted that man on murder because he murdered my baby in my home,” Carr said. “She wasn’t doing anything wrong. My thought was 'Thank you Jesus,' even though I know we have a long way to go at least we got the charge on him.”

 

Watch Carr's full message below.

The mother of #AtatianaJefferson has died in her home. This is her let public statement from her hospital bed after learning of Aaron Dean’s indictment on the charge of murder. pic.twitter.com/UQg00Te48v

— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) January 9, 2020

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Harvey Weinstein Charged With Four Counts Of Sexual Assault In Los Angeles

Hollywood filmmaker Harvey Weinstein was indicted Monday (Jan. 6) for raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in Los Angeles. This indictment came the same day that his sex assault trial commenced in New York City, reports the Los Angeles Times. 

TMZ also reported that Weinstein was charged with one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force, and sexual battery by restraint.

Weinstein faces five felony charges in New York, based on claims by two women, one of whom remains anonymous. However, six women with sexual encounters with Weinstein will testify, according to the New York Times. Jury selection in the case is scheduled to begin Tuesday. One of those witnesses in the case is expected to be The Sopranos actor Annabella Sciorra, who alleges Weinstein raped her inside her Manhattan apartment in 1993, according to the New York Times.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and his defense team is expected to try and undermine the women's testimony. His attorneys have also long denied that any non-consensual sex happened.

The former film producer became tied to the MeToo movement after the New York Times and The New Yorker published reports detailing the stories women who said he had sexually assaulted or harassed them. More than 80 women all have since come forward, although many of their allegations fall outside the statute of limitations.

If convicted of all charges, Weinstein faces up to 28 years in state prison.

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