Shamirah Johnson's Mysterious Death In A Florida Jail A Week After Being Arrested Has Raised Many Questions

Shamirah Johnson's Mysterious Death In A Florida Jail A Week After Being Arrested Has Raised Many Questions

The former prom queen suffered from symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.

Published November 3, 2017

An inmate in a Florida jail who was once a high school prom queen with a 4.0 grade point average was pronounced dead at a medical center on Tuesday. 

29-year-old Shamirah Johnson was arrested on a warrant for probation violation on Oct. 24 and jailed in a Polk County Jail. While being detained, jail workers noticed her blood pressure was borderline high and Johnson was monitored for several days, reported WFLA.

On Monday, Johnson complained of not feeling well and was taken to the jail’s infirmary, where she suffered from vomiting and diarrhea. As her symptoms were not improving, jail staff transported Johnson to the Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, reported The Ledger.

Johnson was pronounced dead at 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

Stephen Nelson, District 10 medical examiner, said autopsy results showed there was no evidence of any trauma. A toxicology exam is being administered and results are pending.

Johnson’s grandmother, Lola King, declined to give The Ledger a comment because she wanted to have more information before speaking publicly about Johnson’s death.  

In March, Johnson had been sentenced to one year of probation for possession of prescription medication without a prescription, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.

Sheriff’s officials said they will continue to investigate Johnson’s death. An internal inquiry has been opened and the Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Criminal Investigations is also investigating. The investigation will be sent to the State Attorney’s Office.

She attended New Bethel A.M.E. Church and worked over 1,000 community service hours volunteering as a member of the Junior Auxiliary at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. 

Johnson’s outstanding past and unfortunate death has many questioning the events leading up to her death as well as the arrest in general. The jailing of Black people for non-violent, drug offenses has many questioning the system. Johnson’s arrest and subsequent death resulted in people on Facebook asking if she really needed to be jailed in the first place.

“Ah, prescription drugs and a plant is why she went to jail. An addiction (maybe) and a plant that grows out of the ground... yes, jail time is a great idea. This is why our prison and jail system is overcrowded. Unnecessary laws for unnecessary crimes...,” wrote Cody B on Facebook.  

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: Polk County Sheriff's Office)


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