“We demand a formal, public apology from all parties to Heaven and her family” : Activists voice their demands after ASO investigation revealed no misconduct occurred

Dream Defenders members, Jada Davis and Kiara Laurent, list their demands from ASO in front of...
Dream Defenders members, Jada Davis and Kiara Laurent, list their demands from ASO in front of the jail.(wcjb)
Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 5:55 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Members of an activist group are voicing their demands to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, after ASO released the full report on the death of a baby born in the jail.

The full report states that no misconduct occurred the day Erica Thompson, nicknamed “Heaven,” gave birth in the jail to her baby named Ava.

Related Story: Newborn baby dies while pregnant mom is in ASO custody

Activists said they are giving Sheriff Clovis Watson 12 days to respond to their list of demands. They said each day represents an hour that Thompson was ignored and neglected in the jail.

“Just so everyone’s so clear, that is half of a 24 hour period, half of a full day that they had every opportunity to aid her and assist her and keep Ava here, and they failed,” said Jada Davis, the Transformative Justice Co-Lead for Dream Defenders.

The outcome of the investigation fueled members of Dream Defenders to demand action from the sheriff, asking for a formal, public apology to Heaven and her family.

They also want the full video from the jail and infirmary to be released to the public.

Related Story: ASO releases images from the day a pregnant woman gave birth in jail

“A lot of times we don’t get to see what happens behind there, because of ‘protection reasons,’ but it’s also to protect them from being held liable and also accountable for the harm they do to our loved ones, to our family, our friends,” said Kiara Laurent, the Digital Communications Coordinator for Dream Defenders.

Members are also calling on ASO to end their contract with Corizon Health, the healthcare corporation the jail uses.

In the complete report, ASO stated that existing Corizon protocols restricted nurses’ authority to perform additional examinations, like a pelvic exam. It states that medical personnel did not have timely access to medical records, and had to rely on dated, self-reported information from Thompson.

Related Story: ASO report alludes to needed policy changes in county jail after baby death

“Clovis Watson said that he wants to be closer to the black community and build that relationship, if you are disregarding a black life right here, how are you holding yourself up to the promises that you made?” said Laurent.

Laurent and several other members said while they want the sheriff to answer their demands, they will continue to fight for justice, regardless of the outcome.

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