Lawyer contests medical examiner's ruling that a Black Connecticut woman died naturally

Brenda Lee Rawls (53), died December 12 from cardiovascular disease and diabetes, according to the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Lawyer contests medical examiner's ruling that a Black Connecticut woman died naturally

Brenda Lee Rawls was a Black Connecticut woman who's family claims police did not treat her death with seriousness. The state's chief physician examiner has ruled that she died from natural causes.

Rawls, 53 years old, passed away in Bridgeport on December 12, the same day as Lauren SmithFields.

Both the families of the women accused police of not informing them of their deaths. This prompted public outrage, which culminated in two Bridgeport Police detectives who were overseeing their cases being put on administrative leave in January.

Rawls' natural death was confirmed by the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The Bridgeport Police Department announced Tuesday that Rawls died from cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Police reported that Rawls' toxicology test came back negative on January 31. The family was informed.

In the wake of the ruling, the police department stated that the detective bureau would officially close the case.

Darnell Crosland is the Rawls' attorney and he disputes the conclusion of the medical examiner.

"The family Brenda Lee Rawls has cause to question the M.E. He stated that the report of the medical examiner was not satisfactory and that he and his family are disappointed by the state of Connecticut and Bridgeport's lack of value for Black lives. NBC Connecticutreported.

Rawls' sister Dorothy Rawls Washington previously stated to NBC News that Rawls had told her family on December 11th that she intended to visit the home of a male acquaintance down the street. They were unsuccessful in reaching her Dec. 12-13.

On the 14th, family members visited the home of that man. Washington stated that the man had told Washington that he could not wake Washington up Dec. 12 and that she was dead.

She claimed that no one had ever informed the family about Rawls' death.


Washington stated, "We had to conduct our own investigation and discover where she was."

The family called several funeral homes to find out if she was at the state medical examiner's office.

Washington stated that police never gave Washington the opportunity to search for next-of-kin. "The next time that we saw our sister was at a funeral home."

Crosland stated Tuesday that he did not have a physical copy the M.E. We are told that the report concludes that cardiac arrest was the cause of death.

He said, "We know there are many causes for cardiac arrest. The conditions that Brenda Lee Rawls was in and the unnamed man she was with have not been investigated. This leaves this family with more questions and answers than answers."

Rawls' case is closing. However, Smith-Fields' investigation continues.

A man she met on Bumble found the 23-year old unresponsive in her Bridgeport apartment and called police to report that he'd awakened to find her unconscious with a nosebleed.

The family accused the police of being "racially sensitive,"claiming that they were not contacted about the death by officers but rather by the landlord. The family attorney stated that Bumble is not a person in interest in the case. There have been no charges.

The accident that caused her death was due to acute intoxication from the combined effects of alcohol, promethazine and fentanyl. The Bridgeport Police Department launched a criminal investigationinto the death of the victim, with the assistance of the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration.

This news comes following a demonstration in Bridgeport on Saturday calling for police reforms and the establishment of a government.

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