Before Sandra Bland and Kindra Chapman, Kimberlee Randall King was allegedly found dead from hanging herself while in police custody. Her death and many others are linked to a string of “mysterious” hanging deaths of Black women while in police custody. There have also been a number of deaths of Black men and Black women through mystifying circumstances that occurred while they were detained in police custody.
The string of suspicious deaths has prompted an #Iwouldnever Pledge, where Black Americans submit a signed or videotaped pledge in which they state, “Let it be known: I would never hang myself. I would never shoot myself. I would never reach for a police officer’s gun. So for the record, if I ever end up dead while in police custody or under “mysterious” circumstances related to a hanging or any other form of “suicide”, it is certain that I have died at the hands of another. Please investigate the case further, and do not rule out the officers involved as suspects.”
Similar to Bland and Chapman, Randle-King of Maryland Heights was being held for minor traffic warrants. Police claim that she hung herself with a t-shirt in a Pagedale jail cell near St. Louis. Randle-King’s mother and other relatives reported that she was not a depressed person and that the holding cell she was in left little from for someone to hang themselves.
She also had no history of mental illness. The family is unaware of what video from the jail shows about the circumstances around Randle-King’s death.
According to the Truth Telling Project, the long line of “mysterious” deaths in police custody that have been ruled suicides include: 54 year-old Otis Byrd (March 2015, Mississippi); 17 year-old Lennon Lacy (August 2014, North Carolina); 21 year-old Chavis Carter (July 2012, Arkansas), and many others.