EXCLUSIVE: Jacksonville inmate dies in custody; family says ‘nobody notified us’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Danny James’ family wants answers after he died while in custody at the Duval County jail.


“Nobody notified us. No police. No bailiff. No detectives. Nobody,” Andre Nero said.

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Andre Nero is James’ cousin. He said their family learned about the passing of the 40-year-old from another inmate. Action News Jax, Meghan Moriarty, also spoke with James’ mother on the phone, who echoed the same thing: no one told them about his death.

“You don’t know what to say,” Nero said. “It’s like we just want answers to why we wasn’t respected to be notified properly.”

James was pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt, according to an arrest report from May 16. He was arrested and charged with not wearing a seatbelt, driving on a suspended license, and fleeing from police despite being asked to stop. The report also mentions an odor of marijuana coming from his vehicle. The Duval County Clerk of Circuit Court web page shows an additional charge for ‘possessing a firearm as a convicted felon’ was added.

Read: Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office investigating death of inmate after medical emergency in his cell

Action News Jax received a press release on Thursday notifying news outlets about James’ death. It said he was found in medical distress and possibly had an undetermined medical episode.

There have been 11 in-custody deaths so far in 2023, according to data from the Sheriff’s Office. There were 19 inmate deaths in 2022.

Last month, Action News Jax told you that the Sheriff’s Office cut ties with its previous healthcare company for the jail. Last week, we compared the two contracts for the new and old healthcare company.

“I’m holding ourselves accountable at the agency,” Sheriff T.K. Waters told us last week. “We make the changes, because I felt we needed a new direction.”

Nero wants to see that change now, and wants an answer for why his family wasn’t notified.

Read: Shocking video surfaces of Camden County Corrections Officer assaulting inmate

“I don’t care what they did on the streets, how they did it on the streets,” Nero said “Everybody is human, and everybody deserve to be treated right.”

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We reached out to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to ask if they notified anyone from James’ family and if not, why? We did not hear back by our 5 P.M. deadline. We will update this story if we receive a response.

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