Family, friends demand answers in county jail death - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Family, friends demand answers in county jail death

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PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) -

Calling the death of a Peoria man inside the jail "absurd", a large group demanded answers in a public show of support Wednesday night.

A candlelight vigil was held at the jail just after sundown, drawing more than two dozen people, family and friends.

"This is absurd," said Robert Johnson. "The treatment of African-Americans in this city is just absurd. We have a lot of questions that need to be answered. We don't know how he was treated here. We want to look at the reports. We want at the cameras. We want answers."

And Sheriff Mike McCoy told WEEK.com that Rodrico McLeod had a lengthy criminal history and "severe alcoholism".

"You know, we have 56 reports on the man," McCoy said. "We took care of him while he was here. But I certainly respect their right to go where they want to to have their vigils."

Reached at home Wednesday, Peoria County coroner Jaime Harwood said that while he did find signs of cirrhosis on the liver when the autopsy on McLeod was performed, he could not presume that meant McLeod was an alcoholic without other evidence.

Rodrico McLeod's family says It all started at home - on the 1600 block of South Stanley street in Peoria. They claim the 36 year old woke up late Sunday night to a dizzying headache, prompting them to call for an ambulance.

"He knew he was sick, he wanted help," says his sister, Sandra Bailey. "And I just don't think that he got the proper help from all the times he went to the ER."

The family says McLeod was well enough to walk to the ambulance, which took him to Unity Point Methodist Hospital's emergency room. There he was spotted by Brittany Hearton, who says he was given some help but did not appear well.

"He was just still sitting there, he had his coat off sitting in the chair next to him," she claims. "And he was like, kind of just...out of it."

Hearton says she returned to the room two hours later after being seen by doctors.. And noticed McLeod still sitting there in a daze. Shortly thereafter, police arrived and arrested him for trespassing after she first claims she overheard a nurse tell him they'd called his family to come pick him up. But The family says they received no such call.

"I just feel like it was medical neglect," says Bailey. "They should've treated my brother, he never should've been taken, arrested and taken to the Peoria County Jail."

It was there that he was kept in a detox cell until, at around 11:40 on Monday morning, he was found unresponsive. He was soon after pronounced dead.. the cause determined to be Bacterial meningitis. 

The situation was described as a Catch-22 by the jail superintendent, who said that McLeod was not given the usual medical check because he had just come from a hospital."

Jail Superintendent Brian Asbell continued by saying that McLeod's condition didn't raise any red flags because of the number of prisoners they receive who are intoxicated. However after the fact he confirmed McLeod's symptoms matched those of Bacterial Meningitis, which the CDC lists as nausea, confusion and sensitivity to light.

We tried reaching out to Unity Point to ask why someone told McLeod they called his family, and why the police were called. They refused to comment, saying that federal privacy laws prevented them from doing so.

McLeod's family is now calling for answers and justice in this troubling case. 

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