Mom reacts to AG’s investigation into daughter’s death while in police custody

September 21, 2018 06:57 AM

The New York State Attorney General's Office has opened an investigation into the death of a Rochester woman who died while in police custody in Buffalo. 

“I’m overwhelmed as a mom, I’m happy about the direction the case is going,” said Tawana Wyatt, the mother of India Cummings.

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Cummings was taken to the Erie County Holding Center in 2016 after being accused of a robbery. She was only there for 17 days before dying of cardiac arrest. 

“There was staff that seen her regularly and no one thought she needed medical attention. We just can’t have that going on,” said Wyatt.

Her family then launched their lawsuit saying she was denied proper medical attention, and now a report from the medical review board agrees.

The report, released by the State's Commission of Correction, says Cummings could have survived with proper medical care, suggesting her death be declared a homicide by medical neglect.

Following the report, the Erie County District Attorney then requested the investigation by the Attorney General’s Office. 

“After reviewing key materials and evidence, the Attorney General’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit has opened an investigation into the death of India Cummings, pursuant to the Attorney General’s authority under Executive Order No. 147," Amy Spitalnick, communications director and senior policy advisor with the Attorney General's Office said. "We’re committed to conducting an independent, comprehensive, and fair investigation.”

"Erie County District Attorney John Flynn commends Acting NYS Attorney General Underwood for opening an independent investigation into the death of Ms. Cummings," the Erie County District Attorney's Office wrote in a statement. 

The press secretary for the Erie County Executive says there will be no comment on cases with ongoing litigation.


Beth Cefalu

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