CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland Heights city officials have released two technical reports that explain the holes in video footage during the time Ralkina Jones was in the Cleveland Heights Police Station Jail, up until she died in custody.
Jones died July 26. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner has not yet ruled on her exact cause of death.
The review resulted in an upgrade of the City's recording equipment. The thirty-two City jail cameras now continuously record on a newly installed DVR system. Prior to this upgrade, the cameras were active at all times and recorded to the DVR when motion was detected.
"We understand from these technical reviews that the 2008 installation of our DVR system set the motion detection at fifty percent sensitivity and the number of cameras connected to the system at times likely overworked its CPU. While the original system and settings met industry standards when installed and are still commonly used today, the DVR system has been upgraded to assure that activities inside the jail are recorded and documented at all times," said City Manager Tanisha Briley.
The reports offered explanations for the gaps in the recordings. Large time gaps are explained by the fact that the DVR was set on a motion detection which meant that the DVR would only record certain movement. The recording would begin fifteen seconds before motion was detected and end sixty seconds after motion stopped being detected.
Smaller time gaps are explained by two facts. First, the motion detection setting was set at fifty percent sensitivity, which may catch large motion movements but not subtle or small movements. Second, the system's memory was insufficient; even though at the time it was installed it met industry standards. Nickelson stated, "It is also critical in all digital recording that the equipment have adequate processor and memory installed in the unit based on the application. Over saturation of the CPU and / or Memory of the unit can cause 'gaps' or 'missed' recording because the equipment can simply not handle the load." Nickelson further noted that the City would have had "no knowledge" that the CPU was being overworked but that the installer should have known.
"While the system appears to be working as it was designed, the technology is outdated," concluded Kyer. The DVR system was upgraded in early September and now records at all times regardless of motion.
Cleveland Heights Police Chief Jeffrey Robertson has also asked for an independent review from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC), the entity charged to ensure compliance with jail standards for all Ohio jails. Briley said the City will implement recommendations by ODRC, if any, as soon as the review is completed by the state prison officials.
The Cuyahoga County's Medical Examiner has not released its findings in the death of Ralkina Jones. The City of Cleveland Heights has turned over all relevant information to the Medical Examiner's office to assist in its investigation.
Jones was arrested after an argument with her ex-husband Brandon. She was facing charges of assault, domestic violence, endangering a child and criminal mischief.
Police say Jones seemed lethargic when they checked on her in jail. She was given medication for prior health problems and taken to the hospital around 7:15 p.m., where she was evaluated and released. Police say they took her back to the jail at 10:40 p.m. Saturday. Jones was found dead in her jail cell just after 7:30 a.m. Sunday.