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The State

A federal jury has awarded $663,500 to the parents of an Oakland woman who died in an Emeryville jail cell. The six-member jury found that poor supervision and training of jail staff contributed to the cell-fire death four years ago of Mercedes Josephine Banks, 20, who was arrested for public drunkenness. The jury decided Frankland and Pacita Banks were entitled to $435,000 from former Police Chief John Lacoste and $230,000 from the city. Lacoste’s tenure as Emeryville police chief ended two years ago with his resignation after critics accused him of running the department from a tavern, drinking on the job and acting like a political boss.


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