RICHMOND HEIGHTS • The St. Louis County prosecutor's office is reviewing the death of a homeless woman jailed by Richmond Heights police to determine whether there was criminal conduct.
Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch said he was asked by the city to look at the case of Anna Brown and hopes the review will be complete by next week.
"It's a tragic death, of course, but we're not sure what sort of criminal conduct would be involved, and that's all we're looking at," McCulloch said. "It never hurts to look at it and make sure that someone else independently looks at it."
Richmond Heights Mayor James Beck referenced McCulloch's review during Monday night's council meeting, when he read a statement.
"The city welcomes this independent review and will fully cooperate," Beck said.
Brown, 29, died Sept. 21 from blood clots in her lungs, just hours after Richmond Heights police arrested her for trespassing at St. Mary's Health Center. The Post-Dispatch published a story on Brown's case March 25.
The homeless mother of two had been to three hospitals within a week, complaining of leg pain. Police escorted her out of St. Louis University Hospital. Richmond Heights police then arrested her hours later after she insisted she received inadequate care and refused to leave St. Mary's.
Officers asked a doctor to examine Brown before her arrest, and the doctor declared Brown "fit for confinement." Officers "relied upon this, as is always the case," Beck said in his statement.
Brown initially cursed at officers during the five-minute ride to the jail and then asked for a wheelchair, saying she could not walk or stand. Officers carried Brown into a jail cell by her arms and ankles. About 15 minutes after they left her on the floor, she stopped moving, surveillance footage shows. She was later pronounced dead at St. Mary's.
Beck said an internal review found the Police Department's policies comply with state and federal law.
"The involvement by Richmond Heights police officers began when the health care facility requested police assistance after Ms. Brown was released and refused to leave," Beck said. "During the period of time that Richmond Heights police officers were with Ms. Brown, there was no indication she was in any imminent danger. The police officers received a doctor's certification that she was medically fit for confinement."
St. Mary's released a statement last week saying, "We followed established medical guidelines and performed appropriate tests. Unfortunately, even with appropriate testing using sophisticated technology, blood clots can still be undetected in a small number of cases."