- The family of a Black woman is criticizing the same police department investigating Lauren Smith-Fields’s case for how they handled their loved one’s death.
- Brenda Rawls, 53, died on December 12 in Bridgeport, Connecticut after visiting a man’s house, NBC News reported.
- Her family said that they found out she died two days later, but not from police.
Another family has criticized Bridgeport, Connecticut police for how they are handling the death of their loved one who died on the same day as 23-year-old Lauren Smith-Fields, NBC News reported.
Smith-Fields was found dead in her apartment on December 12. Her case went viral on social media after her family demanded answers. An “older white man,” as described by her family, who she met on Bumble called the police after he said he woke up and found her unresponsive. For over a month, Smith-Fields’ family has criticized local law enforcement and claimed that they found out about her death from her landlord, and not the police.
Now, the family of 53-year-old Brenda Rawls, who also died on December 12, claim that police also did not inform them about her death and that they found out on their own, NBC News reported.
“Nobody ever notified us that she died,” her sister, Dorothy Rawls Washington told NBC News. “We had to do our own investigation and find out where she was.”
Washington said her sister told her family that she was going to a man’s house who lived nearby her on December 11, according to the report. After not being able to reach her for a few days, family members went to the man’s house — which was down the street from where Rawls lived — on December 14.
The man, who was not named, informed the family that she died two days before after he couldn’t wake her up, NBC News reported.
In search of more information, her sister contacted a local funeral home who said Rawls’ body was not there and to contact the state medical examiner’s office, where they were able to locate her, according to the report.
“They never took any opportunity to look for next of kin,” Washington told the outlet. “The next time we saw our sister, she was in a funeral home.”
Following calls for more action in Smith-Fields’ case from city officials, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim said he would work with law enforcement to make necessary changes regarding death notifications.
“I will work with the Chief of Police to make appropriate changes here in Bridgeport — now — for our department’s policies and practices regarding notifying family members of a death,” Gamin said in a statement earlier this week.
In addition, the department said that they are launching a criminal investigation after findings from the medical examiner ruled Smith-Fields’ death an accident due to an overdose “of fentanyl combined with prescription medication and alcohol.”
NBC News reported the Rawls family sent several letters to Ganim and Bridgeport Police Police Chief Rebeca Garcia about the case. In the letter obtained by the outlet, one of Rawls’ other sisters, identified as Angel Rawls Martin, said that a police sergeant said “they dropped the ball” during the probe into Rawls’ death.
In addition, Martin said that when she asked police if her sister’s apartment was thoroughly searched or the man’s apartment, she was informed it was not included in the police report, according to NBC News.
“They treated my sister Brenda like she was a Jane Doe,” Washington told the news outlet. “Like they found her on the side of the road with no identification. They have no respect.”
A spokesperson for the city did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Courtesy By INSIDER