Community members call for change at Holding Center

Jul 15, 2016

Protestors packed a conference room in the Central Library Downtown Thursday night to complain about the mysterious death of India Cummings after nearly three weeks in the Holding Center.


A large crowd gathered at the Central Library Thursday night to protest conditions at the Erie County Holding Center.
Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Lawyer Matt Albert was on hand to discuss a potential lawsuit on behalf of Cummings' family. 

"We have what we need. We still have to sort of await an autopsy finding by the county pathologist," Albert said, indicating that the suit could be filed as early as next week. 

Others attended the meeting to share their views of the county's jails. Thomas Story says he has spent time inside the lockup.
         
"You could get beat up, you know. It's terrible," Story told the gathering. 

"If everybody keeps speaking out and showing up and I'm pretty sure that at some point in time, somewhere, somebody's going to help us. I mean, if not I feel we are all doomed. "

The Sheriff's Department has been declining comment on the Cummings' case until all the official autopsy results have been finalized. Many public officials were invited to attend the meeting and only County Legislator Betty Jean Grant showed up.

Several in attendance called for the federal Justice Department to initiate another review of the jail's operations.

"If  we want the answers and if we want everything that we need in order to go forth, we're going to have to start shutting it down," said speaker Tylor Norfolk. 

"I don't care what happens on the news. I don't care about Dallas, Minnesota, any of that. Because at the end date, we're here. What are we going to do?"