The death of a young Alabama woman is raising some eyebrows and sparking controversy over who is responsible. City officials are mum on details, but the case has attracted the attention of the NAACP.
Sheneque Proctor, 18, was at the Bessemer Hotel with friends on November 1, where she was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The next day, she was found dead in her cell. Tracy Rodda, Proctor’s aunt reported that her niece had asthma issues, and that officers had been rough with her. She called her mother for the $235 of bail money, but was unable to receive help.
After receiving news of her death, Proctor’s mother, Scherita Proctor, Rodda and other family members , along with NAACP Alabama State Conference president, Brian Simelton went to collect her things and hopefully, get more information. However, upon arriving, they were greeting with nothing. No one was talking. The mayor was unavailable. Sheneque’s mother has decided that she’d rather wait for a death certificate over speculating on the death of her daughter, who left behind a 5-month-old son.
According to Bessemer City Attorney, Shan Poden
“I know the case. I know we had a death in the jail. Erring on a conservative side, not to protect the city but to protect the rights of an 18-year-old, the city of Bessemer will not disclose any information.”
The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the death.
There is a petition demanding answers for Sheneque’s death. Almost two months later, there has been no official notice of cause of death. Written on Petition.org, campaign organizer, Karen Jones wrote:
“The death of Black Men like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice is a clear indication that Black Lives are in jeopardy from Police who have declared it open season on Black Men. Insult over injury no indictment and a video which clearly shows officers using a choke hold on Eric Garner who loudly and clearly stated that he could NOT breathe was not enough to save his life. Yet in Alabama where most of the historical landmark Civil Right Movements and cases we have lost an 18 year old Black young woman under the hands of Bessemer Police. […]
This family deserves some answers we don’t need another “I can’t breathe” story. Her life mattered and still matters to her family. They deserve answers from the State Bureau of Investigations and the FBI.”
The fact is that no one deserves to be denied medical attention, even while in police custody. Why, if Sheneque was complaining of breathing problems, was she left unattended? There has to be a reason that no one was available to assist the family or even attempt to answer their questions.
Sign the petition and help secure justice for this family.