ACSO releases images from the day a pregnant woman gave birth in jail

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 6:34 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Alachua County Sheriff’s deputies said they were preparing to take a pregnant inmate to the hospital when she gave birth in jail. Her baby later died at the hospital.

In a press briefing today, law enforcement officials showed TV 20 some of the video footage from inside the jail, the day Erica Thompson arrived.

The sheriff’s office provided images from the video footage. They said the video cannot be released yet, because the investigation is ongoing.

On August 9th, Thompson was arrested for two active warrants while she was pregnant. She was charged with Felony Violation of Probation and Failure to Appear on a traffic charge.

Thompson said she was having contractions from the moment officers showed up at her door.

A lead investigator said according to the video, Ms. Thompson does not visibly express to be in excruciating pain throughout the entire time she was there.

“Shortly before at 9:50 in the morning she is speaking with a medical provider, self reporting her conditions. She is then seen shortly thereafter inside the nurses station,” said Brett Rhodenizer, an inspector with the Office of Professional Standards.

Rhodenizer said Thompson did not ask for help until she knocked on the door at 10:20 am in the female infirmary.

He said the pictures and video show that Thompson was checked on every 15 minutes.

According to officials, staff dressed Thompson at 10:52 am to get her ready for the hospital. They said around two minutes later she delivered her baby.

Kaley Behl, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, said it’s going to take time to fully complete the investigation.

“I would just ask people to withhold their judgement until the investigation is concluded so that we can all get a fair and accurate picture from everyone’s side of the story, and from what we can articulate in the video and documentation, and the medical data we have,” she said.

Officials said formal interviews with medical staff will take place next week as part of the investigation.

“Mrs. Thompson’s testimony is what started our investigation. Her testimony is absolutely valid,” said Rhodenizer.

Community members outraged at the situation protested last week in front of the Alachua County Jail.

The Dream Defenders organization is holding another protest tomorrow at the jail from 5 to 6 pm.

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