Families demand answers after 2 women die in Chicago police custody


Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating the deaths of London Marquez and Irene Chavez, two women who died while in police custody within the past two months.

Marquez, 31, died Jan. 27 while in the custody of 11th District police, COPA said, while Chavez died after a “suicide attempt” Dec. 18 at the 3rd District police station. .

The cause and manner of death in both cases are still unknown, pending autopsy results.

Members of Marquez’s family gathered Sunday outside the Area 4 police headquarters, where she died, and urged police for answers.

“He was someone who was loved. She has a lot of siblings. She has a mother. She has a father. You know, we need answers,” her sister, Tatoyia Marquez, told reporters.

“People saw her that same day being active, nothing wrong with her, walking around,” she added.

They also said Marquez was seven months pregnant with her first child at the time of her death.

“It’s a cold city and it’s even colder what happened to my litter sister,” her brother, Marquez Marquez, told reporters.

It is unclear why Marquez was taken into custody.

A COPA spokesperson confirmed to ABC News on Monday that the civilian oversight agency is investigating the case, including “why she was arrested.”

The Chicago Police Department has referred all questions regarding the case to COPA.

COPA announced Jan. 29 that the agency was investigating an “incident” in which a civilian died while in police custody.

The person was later identified as Marquez.

The cause and circumstances of his death remain unknown to this day.

A spokesperson for the Cook County Medical Examiner said an autopsy was performed Jan. 28 and COPA attended, but results are “pending at this time.”

COPA is also investigating the death of Chavez, who died in the early hours of December 18, 2021, following a medical emergency related to a suicide attempt.

According to COPA, Chavez was in “critical condition” when she was taken to University of Chicago Hospital, where she died hours later.

Chavez was arrested after being involved in “an incident” at the Jeffery Pub Tavern hours before her death, COPA said, but the cause of death is still unknown.

Iris Chavez, Irene’s sister, told reporters that police did not provide details of her sister’s death and the family demanded answers.

Iris Chavez opened a GoFundMe account to help the family with the costs of her sister’s death and said Irene was her only sister.

“When I say my heart is what you would call broken glass in a bag… MY FAVORITE PERSON IN THE WHOLE WORLD and ONLY SISTER HAS PASSED,” she wrote.

“Irene taught me that anything is possible and things are not always what they seem. To always research thoroughly and open my mind to ALL sides before making a blind decision,” said she added. “I always have to remind myself that what I find may not be what I want or what I’m ready for. BUT for MY SISTER, I GO THE DISTANCE to find out absolutely every answer I could possibly get Even if that’s just what it is! THE TRUTH… THE TRUTH AND ANSWERS IS ALL I’M LOOKING FOR.”

A spokesperson for the Cook County Medical Examiner told ABC News an autopsy was performed on Dec. 18, 2021, and COPA attended, but the cause and manner of death are “pending at this time. “.

Last month, COPA announced that it had obtained video and other documents related to Chavez’s death and said the civilian oversight agency plans to release the documents within 60 days of the incident.” as part of COPA’s ongoing commitment to transparency.”

COPA told ABC News on Monday that the agency “will work in coordination with the family and their representative” to release the documents, but did not provide a date.

“This is the second incident in Chicago involving our black and brown community – they are arrested and taken into custody one way, but leave in a body bag,” Rabbi Michael Ben Yosef of the Chicago Activist Coalition For Justice. .

The Chicago Police Department referred questions about both cases to COPA.

ABC News

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