A passionate crowd circles around the lawyer representing India Cummings family in front of the Erie County Holding Center. His name is Matt Albert, and he is standing with the protesters out in the cold, with a microphone in his hand and vigor in his eyes. He’s angry and upset about what happened to India, and he thinks everyone else should be too.
“All they know is corruption and brutality. I’ve had retired deputies who tell me what goes on in there (Holding Center). I bet you there are deputies in there right now who want to come forward, they want to speak about what happened to India. Why don’t they do it? Because that is career suicide. What kind of environment have we fostered in there,” he said.
The crowd is chanting, “Hey hey, ho, ho, Deputy Howard Has got to go,” and “Say her name! Say her name!” Just like Albert, they are angry and they want answers.
Luana DeJesus, Program Assistant at PUSH Buffalo, said people end up in the holding center for ridiculous reasons.
“More often than not, they are people of color or poor people. For people to be brutalized because they can’t make bail is something we shouldn’t tolerate as a community. It makes no sense for someone with a mental health issue, like India Cummings, to be jailed and stuck there because they can’t make bail,” DeJesus said.
On February 1st, India was in Lackawanna; she was seen going around the neighborhood asking people for rides, and supposedly her behavior was strange.
Cummings called police, but when she saw them, she reportedly stole a vehicle and led the police on a brief chase. She was arrested and jailed at the Erie County Holding Center. Four days after being released, she was dead. The family believes the Erie County Sheriff’s office are at fault. Albert says she had suffered broken ribs, a broken arm, and irreversible brain damage. K