A diabetic man died in police custody this weekend after deputies reportedly left him in solitary confinement while refusing to provide his insulin medication. Accusing the police of causing his death, the victim’s family has called for an investigation into why he was denied his medically required injections. Although many people continue to die in police custody, officers are rarely face any criminal charges for causing their deaths or allowing them to die.
On the morning of August 14, Kennett police officers arrested 33-year-old Michael Robinson on a warrant for unpaid child support. After arriving at the Pemiscot County Jail in Missouri, Robinson reportedly told the officers that he was a diabetic and begged them for insulin. Instead of administering his medically necessary injections, the guards threw Robinson in solitary confinement to silence him.
According to his family, Robinson’s diabetes required him to take shots of insulin twice a day. Recently on Facebook, Robinson’s cousin, Brigette “Brig” Robinson posted a comment from his sister saying, “Brig I just heard that my brother was asking the jailers that he needed to go to the hospital and he was yelling and begging. They put him in the hole to keep him quiet. They didn’t get him out again until his girlfriend came to visit. So sad, I’m hurting.”
Pemiscot County sheriff’s deputies allegedly refused to give Robinson medical treatment until he became too weak to hold up his own head. Robinson was eventually transferred to a hospital where his blood sugar level was monitored at 2,500. According to the American Diabetes Association, the normal range is between 80 and 180 depending on the time between meals.
Robinson was pronounced dead early on Sunday evening. In response to accusations that his deputies were responsible for Robinson’s death, Pemiscot County Sheriff Tommy Greenwell announced that the Missouri State Police has launched an investigation into the treatment Robinson received while in jail.
On Tuesday, Robinson’s family created a GoFundMe page seeking justice for the deceased father of three. His brother Antonio wrote, “Our family plans to fight for answers and justice. We also want to make sure his story changes the lives of anyone who is denied medicines needed to maintain care and stay alive while detained for whatever reason. My brother lost his life because he was denied his insulin while being held for NO Criminal Activity! Now he will never have the chance and we want answers.”
Robinson’s death is the latest in a series of homicides, suicides, and medically inconclusive deaths that have recently taken place in police custody. Within the last two months, multiple people have suddenly died in police custody, including Sandra Bland, Jonathan Sanders, Ralkina Jones, Troy Goode, Kindra Chapman, Heriberto Godinez Jr., Sarah Lee Circle Bear, Rexdale Henry, Raynette Turner, and Joyce Curnell. Since 1999, Maricopa County has spent over $33 million in settlements or verdicts resulting from wrongful death casesinvolving jail inmates overseen by Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona. Although several officers are directly responsible for killing these people, few are ever charged with negligence or murder.