JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville family told News4Jax they are upset after they went online to the Duval County jail website and saw their loved one’s reason for release marked “deceased.”
Because the 61-year-old woman was only arrested on a misdemeanor charge of driving on a suspended license, News4Jax has decided to exclude the woman’s name from the story. Her niece, who asked not to be identified, shared a screenshot that she took of the jail log after she learned of her aunt’s arrest.
The niece said she later learned her aunt was not dead and had been released from custody.
Her arrest comes as the Duval County jail deals with a coronavirus outbreak, where health officials are preparing for another round of testing. Health officials completed testing 2,887 inmates Sunday and found 178 inmates tested positive for COVID-19 at the facility’s peak.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson, who is a former JSO officer, says the most power a police officer has is discretion, which is why he believes this could have been handled differently.
“In this situation, the officer could have exercised his best discretion in just issuing a citation and having someone to pick the person up in light of the person being at the age of vulnerability for COVID-19, also, knowing there’s an issue at the jail facility with inmates testing positive for COVID-19 as well as some employees,“ Jefferson said.
A request for comment from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was not immediately returned Wednesday night.