No misconduct was found in the case of a baby born in the Alachua County Jail despite mother Erica Thompson saying she repeatedly screamed for help and to be hospitalized, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office reported.
A report on the internal investigation was not available Tuesday because redactions needed to be made, but Sheriff Clovis Watson said in a press release that “there were no findings of law or policy violations on the part of Alachua County Sheriff’s Office employees or the contracted medical provider.”
Neither Thompson nor attorney Natalie Jackson of Orlando could be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
Lawyer Ben Crump
The case has drawn nationwide attention and one of Thompson’s lawyers is Ben Crump, who has represented the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin, among others.
The incident occurred the night of Aug. 9 after Thompson was jailed earlier in the day for violation of probation for a perjury charge.
Thompson told jail staff when she was being booked into the facility that she was having contractions, adding she had been to the hospital the day before and was told that if the contractions continued to come back so labor could be stopped.
When the contractions continued that night Thompson said she was screaming for help and tried to stop the birth when the baby dropped into the birth canal. EMS got to the jail after Ava was born.
Ava was born about 3 months premature and died at UF Health Shands Hospital hours after the birth.
Thompson posted about the incident on social media a day or so later, spurring protests at the jail.
The Sheriff’s Office about two weeks later held a press conference that included silent video excerpts showing Thompson getting her vitals checked by nurses and later in her cell as the birth was occurring.
ASO officials said then that jail staff, including nurses with health care provider Corizon, tended to Thompson.
Tammy Jackson Act
Thompson and her supporters say that by failing to take her to a hospital earlier, the Sheriff’s Office violated Florida’s Tammy Jackson Act. They also believe Ava’s life could have been saved.
Thompson and her lawyers said they intend to file suit against the Sheriff’s Office citing the act, which mandates that pregnant women be taken to a medical facility to give birth rather than giving birth in a jail.
This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Alachua County jail staff cleared in case of baby's birth