MARTINEZ — Family and supporters on Sunday demanded the release of an 18-year-old man being held on a murder charge at the Martinez Detention Facility, alleging Tyejaun Shepherd is not receiving proper medical care for a deteriorating condition.
Shepherd’s mother, Lavette Alexander of Richmond, led the rally to call attention to health care issues at the Contra Costa County jail, organizers said. Shepherd is charged with murder in the September shooting death of Kevin Santisteban, 24, on Interstate 80 in San Pablo.
Alexander said that her son entered jail last month and suddenly developed a severe stutter, loss of mobility on his right side and memory loss.
Tyejaun Shepherd graduated from Richmond-Kennedy High School in June, according to his mother, Lavette Alexander. (Photo courtesy of Lavette Alexander)
“That is not the kid I know and raised,” she said of Shepherd, who she added graduated in June from Kennedy High School in Richmond.
Alexander said she does not know if the symptoms are related to COVID-19, which has led to deadly outbreaks this year in California prisons. Alexander said she also wonders if her son suffered a stroke.
“Clearly, it is something,” she said.
Alexander said repeated requests for a comprehensive medical examination of Shepherd have been ignored by the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department, which operates the detention facility.
A spokesman for the sheriff’s department declined to comment Sunday. He referred questions to the county’s Health Services Department. A spokeswoman for health services did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
“We’re demanding a diagnosis,” said Courtney Morris of No Justice Under Capitalism, a group that has staged demonstrations at California prisons this year because of the large number of novel coronavirus cases. “We’re demanding that Tyejaun Shepard’s health issues be taken seriously.”
Morris said family members don’t know if Shepherd has been tested for coronavirus.
The protestors Sunday requested that Shepherd be released to a public health facility or to his family pending trial. Shepherd is currently being held without bail.
Alexander said her son’s next court appearance is Dec. 15. He had been working at a Richmond grocery store, she said, and planned to study criminal justice at Diablo Valley College in the East Bay in the coming year.
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Alexander said Shepherd cannot remember his birthday or close friends. She said jail physicians told her Shepherd showed no abnormalities after undergoing a CAT scan and MRI exam.
Alexander said Sunday’s protest was to support proper health care for all incarcerated people.
“My son just seems to be another case,” she said.
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment