BUFFALO, N.Y. — An Erie County legislator is calling on the state attorney general to expedite an investigation into the death of India Cummings.
Majority Leader April Baskin says the attorney general has twice delayed her decision on whether her office will take on the investigation.
The 27-year-old Rochester woman died at the Erie County Holding Center two years ago. She was taken into custody there with a broken arm and was held for 16 days before being transported to a hospital where she was declared brain dead. She has been suffering from renal failure.
"People are dying, deputies are frustrated and families are grieving," Baskin said. “The cost to county taxpayers for this operation and for the litigation against the county continues to rise without fail and no one is being held accountable including the sheriff himself."
Earlier this year, a report from the New York State Commission of Corrections declared Cummings’ death a homicide. The report also said the staff at the holding center was slow to respond to her medical needs.
Baskin now wants the attorney general to move forward in holding those who oversee the center accountable for Cummings’ death.
There have been 21 deaths at the Erie County Holding Center during the tenure of current Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard. A special prosecutor can be called in to investigate if the attorney general decides not to accept the referral of District Attorney John Flynn to investigate her death.
But the attorney general’s office is not ready to move just yet.
The attorney general's office says it does not have standing jurisdiction to take cases that aren’t covered by Executive Order 147. The office is currently reviewing “key materials and evidence” to determine whether jurisdiction exists.