Protesters march after 2 die in Durham jail

A group of people led by the Inside Outside Alliance marched to the Durham County Detention Center on Saturday to build awareness for what they say are unsafe conditions inside the jail.

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Saturday a group of people lead by the Inside Outside Alliance marched to the Durham County Detention Center to build awareness for what they say are unsafe conditions inside the jail.

The march was silent and all that could be heard was the sound of footsteps and music playing in the background. Alliance volunteers say they marched after two people died inside the jail.

“We are trying to show people, the community, that Matthew (McCain) and Dennis (McMurray) and other people inside of the jail are people,” said Leandre Blakeney.

Blakeney is a volunteer for the Inside Outside Alliance. The group fights for rights of people in jail and as well as their families.

He says he knows what it’s like to have a family member behind bars.

Blakeney’s father was incarcerated for most of his life. He says people behind bars may have made a mistake, but they’re still human.

The group marched to the jail hoping to break down the criminal stereotypes of both McMurry and McCain two men who’ve died inside of the jail.

“He was our goofball; very loving. Loved his family and kids, he’s missed,” said Ashley Canady.

Canady lead the march alongside Blakeney.

Canaday is the girlfriend of McCain. McCain died in jail in January. For the entire march, she held McCain’s daughter against her chest. The daughter, she says, McCain never got to meet.

“People are dying because they’re not getting what they need,” said Canady.

The marchers met McCain’s mother at the jail. The same spot as a protest earlier this month, but this gathering was completely different.. Rather than blocking the streets near the Durham Performing Arts Center across the street from the jail, the group said prayers and released balloons into the air.

Asking for justice for both McCain and McCurry whom they say were neglected.

According to the Durham County sheriff’s office, McMorran’s cause of death was determined to be a drug overdose.

As for McCain’s death earlier this year, the sheriff’s office released this statement:

“The Durham County Sheriff’s Office continues its investigation of an in-custody death on January 19, 2016. A member of the detention staff and a nurse found Matthew Lamont McCain, 29, unresponsive in a cell and performed life-saving measures. The detention staff and medical personnel performed CPR until EMS arrived. Paramedics were unable to resuscitate Mr. McCain and he was pronounced dead at the detention facility. ”

“The agency followed standard protocol and notified the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) on January 19. The agency complied with state law and submitted an in-custody death report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services within five days. In compliance with standard protocol, investigators are conducting a comprehensive investigation that includes a timeline of events. Investigators are requesting additional information from any citizens with firsthand knowledge of the in-custody death. There are no staffing changes or disciplinary action related to this incident. Sheriff Mike Andrews is committed to conducting a thorough investigation. ”

“We are investigating as we have done so in previous cases,” said Sheriff Andrews. “We want to provide Mr. McCain’s family with answers as soon as possible. However, thorough and complete investigations require time to produce credible answers. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. McCain’s family.”

Any questions regarding Mr. McCain’s medical care or medical history should be directed to Correct Care Solutions, the medical services provider under contract with the Durham County Public Health Department. Any questions regarding mental health services at the Durham County Detention Facility should be directed to the Criminal Justice Resource Center, the mental health provider.

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