Home / Badge Abuse / Cops Arrest Sick Woman in the Hospital for Unpaid Fines, Put Her in Jail & Dehydrate Her to Death

Cops Arrest Sick Woman in the Hospital for Unpaid Fines, Put Her in Jail & Dehydrate Her to Death

Cops-Arrest-Sick-Woman-in-the-Hospital-for-Unpaid-Fines-Dehydrate-Her-to-Death

Charleston, SC — On July 21, of last year, Joyce Curnell, 50, of Edisto Island became very ill and was taken by ambulance to the hospital while complaining of nausea and vomiting. While she was in the hospital, somehow police were alerted to her presence over unpaid court fees and were dispatched to the scene. The sick woman was then arrested, while in the hospital, and brought to jail — where she would spend the rest of her life.

The family of Curnell has since filed a lawsuit after it was discovered that she was deprived of water until she died.

After she had been discharged from the hospital into police custody, the officers were given instructions to care for her. However, officers and jail medical staff “refused to provide any medical attention to (her) whatsoever,” the court documents stated.

For the last 27 hours of her life, Curnell lay dying in a jail cell, vomiting and too sick to even call for help. Instead of taking medical action after seeing a woman literally dying in her cell, officers gave her a trash bag to vomit in.

According to the court documents, an expert opinion from a local doctor said that her death “more likely than not” would have been prevented had she received proper treatment.

“Simply put,” the doctor said, “Ms. Curnell died because she was deprived of water.”

According to a well-researched report from the Post and Courier, the family attorney, James Moore III, said in a statement that her death resulted from a “deliberate failure.”

“Providing access to reasonable medical care to those under police custody is a necessity, not a privilege,” he said. “It is a constitutional right. We are committed to seeking justice for Joyce and for her family.”

According to the State Law Enforcement Division, they completed their own investigation into the cause of Curnell’s death and filed a report. However, the Post and Courier launched their own investigation as well and filed an S.C. Freedom of Information Act request for the document. However, SLED officials refuse to turn it over.

Curnell had no criminal record before a petty shoplifting case in 2011. After going to court, Curnell was put on a payment plan to cover the $1,148.90 in fines related to the charges. Naturally in a position unable to pay, in January of the next year, Curnell stopped making her installments.

In August of 2014, a warrant was issued for her arrest. Almost a year later, officers would wait until she lay in a hospital bed, in an emergency room, with gastroenteritis to arrest her.

The Post and Courier attempted to find out how exactly the police knew she was in that hosptial bed on that fateful day. However, no one could tell them.

What led Joyce Curnell to shoplift in 2011, and what she took is unclear. However, what is clear is that $1,148.90 was not intended for the people from who she stole. Curnell was the victim of state violence used to enforce debt and her death is a tragic example illustrating that debtor’s prisons are alive and well in the Land of the Free.


Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world.

  • John and Linda Robel

    LAND OF THE SUBJECTS, HOME OF THE DEPRAVED.

  • Cam Alft

    cops have no care for those in their custidy,they don’t care,and if you have no money,they will not bring you meds,if meds are there for the cops to despence to you,they will charge you for every pill they bring you!the jail system is designed to keep you broke,and make it so your family has to pay for your stay,the prison system is there o profit,to profit off your misery,and the criminals in charge love it when hey get to kill you…that way they don’t have to care for you anymore,not that even do at all,ever!cops are criminals,all of them….

  • Guy Kelley

    I was in jail one’s in the town of Sonora Calif in 1970. The kid in the city jail (kid was 19 yrs old) with me, started to have a epileptic spasm. The cop jailers watched for about 10 minutes from the outside of the cell door as the boy lay twitching on the floor. They were asking me to do something about it. I said what ? they asked be to cover him with a blanket, so they would not have to look at him. That din’t stop the fit, so the cops came into the cell and knocked him out with their billy clubs, after beating on him for about 5 minutes, they drug him out by his feet. Laughing as they called him a spastic and retard. They had busted the boy for a unpaid parking ticket, and he was waiting to see the judge on a Monday. This was on a Sunday. I heard later he died. True Story !

  • Faye

    Dehydration is an extremely painful way to die. I feel terrible for this poor woman’s family. The crimes against Mrs. Curnell must not be forgotten and unpunished. As a society, we need to recognize these actions as atrocities.

  • jamesawyatt

    IT IS FOREVER HOPED THAT ONE OR MORE LAW FIRMS WILL RISE TO THE OBVIOUS NEED AND COME INTO BEING THAT WILL RELENTLESSLY UNDERTAKE THE FILING OF SUITS AND NOT
    ONLY AGAINST THE INVOLVED JURISDICTION AND THE INDIVIDUAL ROGUE COP OR COPS BUT ALSO THOSE WHO WERE INVOLVED IN THE HIRING OF THE COP OR COPS; THE IMPRESSION ALWAYS BEING THAT THESE WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HIRING AND THUS ARE AS GUILTY AS THE INVOLVED ROGUE COP(S) & THEY HAVE TO BE FACED WITH THE HARSH REALITY BY HAVING LEVIED AGAINST EACH AND EVERY OFFENDER HUGH AWARDS/FINES; NOT JUST LEVIED ON THE JURISDICTION, I.E. THE CITY, COUNTY, STATE OR FEDS . . . BUT ALSO AGAINST EACH OF THE INDIVIDUAL INVOLVED IN THE HIRING WITH LITTLE OR NO VETTING . . . AS WELL AS THE ROGUE COP OR COPS THEMSELVES AS THAT INDIVIDUALLY ; THE AWARDS TO BE PAID OUT OF POCKET BY THE INDIVIDUALS’; THEIR INDIVIDUAL PRORATED AWARD SHARE PAYMENT REQUIRED TO BE MADE OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKETS

    AND ONLY A PRORATED SHARE BY THE JURISDICTION AS WHAT THE JURISDICTION PAYS WILL INVARIABLY COME OUT OF THE POCKETS OF THAT JURISDICTION’S TAX PAYERS UNLESS THAT IS BY SOME MEANS PROHIBITED.

    STIFF PENALTIES IN THE FORM OF HUGE FINANCIAL JUDGEMENT AWARDS SHOULD GO A LONG, LONG WAY IN FOSTERING AN AWARENESS BY THESE WHO HAVE ESCAPED
    ACCOUNTABILITY FOR SO, SO LONG OF THE POTENTIALLY VERY EXPENSIVE FOLLY OF THEIR IRRESPONSIBLE ACTIONS WHICH RESULTS IN SO MUCH SUFFERING AND MANY TIME
    CRIPPLING INJURIES AND/OR DEATH.