Why are Minnesota jail deaths on the rise?

A woman turns away from a screen displaying a man holding a fish
Sarah Bellamy, sister of Lucas Bellamy, turns away as a photo of Lucas plays on a screen during a press conference in Minneapolis on Tuesday.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

The family of Lucas Bellamy — who died while in custody at Hennepin County Jail — has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, arguing his death from a perforated bowel was preventable, but jail and medical staff failed to intervene.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department says it “cannot specifically comment about this litigation” as it’s ongoing, but expressed sympathy to the Bellamy family. “We remain committed to professionally serving all people in our facilities and under our care with compassion, dignity and respect,” said the statement.

Bellamy, however, is just one of many Minnesotans who has died behind bars. KARE 11 Investigative Journalist A.J. Lagoe has reported extensively on jail deaths and their sometimes flawed and “often toothless” investigations in Minnesota. He shared his insight as a guest on Morning Edition with MPR News host Cathy Wurzer.

Listen to the conversation by clicking on the player above.

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