Woman Jailed In Long Beach Chooses Death Over More Time Behind Bars

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LawandaSockey.jpg
Lawanda Sockey (left) with sister, Teresa in better days
Lawanda Sockey had been clean for years. She did a dangerous dance with crack cocaine in the 1990s, running afoul of the law on a few possession charges. But by the end of the millennium she was clean, with a steady job and a place of her own. For a decade things were good. Lawanda helped raise her sister's two youngest children, contributing to family life on a daily basis.

But then their mother died in 2009, which seemed to act as a trigger for Lawanda's addiction. "Little by little she started losing weight," says Teresa Flynn, Lawanda's sister. "You couldn't tell she was on drugs. I couldn't tell. And then little by little my family would tell me, 'She's doing something.' I started really noticing this year."

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Despite backsliding, Lawanda remained connected to her family. "Even though she was using, she still came every day," says Teresa's eldest child, Valorie. "She still cooked, she still bought the kids things."

But Lawanda's addiction worsened, as addictions do, and eventually it encroached upon the rest of her life. By the end of 2012 she had lost her job. In March she became homeless. And as so often is the case, her family did not know how to reach her.

"We all tried to help her," says Michelle, Lawanda's sister-in-law. "We tried. But she didn't care what we thought, pretty much. Not in a bad way, but she was like, 'This is me.' She wanted to stop, but I think she was already too into it."

"She was always, like, 'I'm going to be okay. Don't worry about me,'" Valorie adds. "That's all she ever told us: 'Don't worry about me. I'll be fine.' She didn't care what anybody thought about her. That's what I remember about it. But she was still a good person."

Good person or not, on April 24 Long Beach police arrested Lawanda for what the LBPD describes as a "felony narcotics charge." Detectives clarified to the family that her arrest was not related to anything that transpired April 24, but that earlier in the week undercover officers had witnessed her dealing cocaine.

At approximately 3 p.m. Lawanda was brought to the Long Beach City Jail. Two hours later paramedics were rushing her to the hospital. But her life was already over. While the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office is awaiting the results of a toxicology report before determining an official cause of death, LBPD detectives told the family that Lawanda's autopsy revealed "something found in her throat [...] in her esophagus."


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25 comments
DaniGirl949
DaniGirl949

I am sorry for the family. Yet, this gal was a JUNKIE. Plain and simply. Drugs are so fricken terrible, and they are all over the OC. Sadly the state or County doesn't offer a free program, and why should they, 95% of the time once in a rehab they get out and turn right around and do drugs again. If this family wanted her in a program, they should have held her hand and walked her into a NA or AA program, three times a week (thats free). But to point fingers on the police department is silly. I am sorry for your heartbreak, it's any parent’s nightmare, but she was the one that took the drugs, no one made her!

jumpingjack
jumpingjack

I believe this time you cant blame the cops, they took a drug dealer off the streets.  At some point the victim went from a user to a dealer.  26 grams of crack or meth is almost an 1 oz of drugs with a street value of almost $1000.  I am guessing that would be about the size of a golf ball, maybe even a baseball( I am not exactly sure but its pretty big).  If she tried to swallow that she probably could not have been saved unless they could remove it without the bag ripping.  This was an overdose, plain and simple. Excellent title by the way, she 100% chose to die rather then go to jail.  To the family I am so sorry for your loss, fuck drugs.  Go after the drug dealers who she was hanging with.  Im sure the police will be then willing to help you.

.

patriarchy_works
patriarchy_works

The family (and their circling attorneys) are obviously looking for a payday.  Choke on a huge bag of crack?  Must be the cops fault.  And the name "Lawanda" is a tell.

marmac2768
marmac2768

They ARE criminals, since possession of drugs IS a crime!! She was not a victim of anything, every person who is on drugs had to make a conscience decision to take a drug. I am 54 years old and have NEVER taken an illegal drug, even marijuana. I had a lot of chances and was tempted many times, but I always said NO. She should have as well and she would be alive today. Quit looking to blame someone besides Lawanda. SHE is at fault!

ceemrun
ceemrun

They do give a program, however you need to be charged with possession and go to court.  Swallowing them prevents the charge.  Long Beach has a Drug Court I know I am in it.

CJ Weaver
CJ Weaver

The sister is one of my former student's mom..... sad for the kids involved....

valorie_flores
valorie_flores

No were not in denial or else we wouldnt of told the reporter she was on drugs!!! We know shewas using but if she.was choking in her cell or asking for help that is neglegance and against the law!! We still havent seen her body or the tapes they dont want us to and for whattt!?? Theyre fucking liars thats why they let her.die.they thought she was no one just like you guys do becuase you dont know her.thats MY aunt she was a great person fuck the.police and fuck.your.opinion!!! she was an addict but she never hurt anyone she was caught up in the wrong crowd but still loved her family and For you guys to talk on someone you dont know negatively and she meant so much to us all really shows how shallow you are and opinions are like assholes everybody has one! the truth will set you free Wanda we love you us against the world!!

Rick Hale
Rick Hale

I know a Lafawnda. And a Sheniqwa. Not a Lawanda, though.

Rick Hale
Rick Hale

I'm pretty sure OC Weekly and her family think that the police are to blame. That's why it's newsworthy.

Newport74
Newport74

The family is living in denial by somehow blaming the police department. Its sad and unfortunate but not the fault of the officers or the system on this one. She put illegal drugs down her throat. What do you expect.....

Mayling Tate
Mayling Tate

I don't get why this is newsworthy? She swallowed the drugs and didn't tell them, essentially she committed suicide!

Steve SanFilipo
Steve SanFilipo

You sure that's Lawanda? That doesn't look like a Lawanda from Long Beach.

Brew
Brew

"I think they should offer to put them in some kind of program or...I'm not sure, [but] just some kind of help," says Teresa. "Because they're not criminals."

No, I'm pretty sure that illegally dealing drugs makes you a criminal. In fact, I think that's EXACTLY the definition of a criminal.

valorie_flores
valorie_flores

No denial here we know she WAs an addict but if she was asking for.help and they ignored her and let her die.thats neglegance!! You dont know what the fuck.your talking about we want answers to why she died in her cell and why did she get seen 3 to 4 times before she died.if.something was wrong they shouldve sent.her to the hospital!! if they didnt follow proper life saving procedures theyre.fucked . Fuck the lbpd!

valorie_flores
valorie_flores

Ok w.e. You say she was a criminal then but that doesnt mean let her die in her cell if she needed help so shut the fuck.up.idiot if you speak on my mom or.dont agree with what she feels thats your opinion let her cope how the.fuck she wants at the end of the day its our family not.yours get the fuck outta here with your shit its not helping.or.positive so its irelevant !!! cold muthafucking world we live in

DaniGirl949
DaniGirl949

Sadly she most likely died because her body couldn't take one more drug- it states that paramedics where rushing her to the hospital or on their way to the jail ( don't quote me there ). The sad part is as parents we always want to see the best in our children. However if this gal was taken into jail and three hours later she died, I am almost sure she was high when she went it, and her body just shut down from the months of doing drugs- I am sorry for the families lose, but the reality of it all- they girl was on drugs and guards in the system are not babysitters- people on drugs only have a few paths in life. Being arrested, OD'ing, or taking the life of another ( while they are as high as a kite driving). May she rest in peace, and may her family understand and find peace in the reality of that dark world.

marmac2768
marmac2768

@valorie_flores No, you want money, that's what you are looking for!! You fumbled the ball on her and you don't want to face facts!! It's that f*****g simple!

Danno
Danno

@valorie_flores Betcha if she had said "HELP, I JUST SWALLOWED MY STASH AND NOW I'M CHOKING ON IT" instead of lying about having asthma, the medical crew might have been able to help her more effectively.

Danno
Danno

@valorie_flores Brew is right. She committed a criminal act. The public (you know... the people who would most likely end up footing the bill for her "program" and "help") is not responsible for her rehabilitation. That's on her, and her family.

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