.Another incarcerated person dies in Marin County Jail cell

An incarcerated man died in the Marin County Jail early this morning, marking the fourth in-custody death since August.

He has been identified as Derrek Leeds, 43, of San Rafael.

A deputy performing a routine check of jail cells found an individual in need of medical care at about 2:09am, according to a press release issued by the Marin County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies performed life saving measures until the San Rafael Fire Department arrived minutes later to continue those efforts. However, Leeds was pronounced dead at 2:42am.

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At the request of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, which operates the jail, the San Rafael Police Department will conduct an independent investigation into the death.

The autopsy will be performed by the Sonoma County coroner’s unit, said Deputy Rob Dillion of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

This recent spike of in-custody deaths has caused concern among activists in the community, who have been calling for a civilian sheriff’s oversight commission for years.

In February, Marin County unveiled a proposed ordinance to establish an oversight commission. At the time, Supervisor Mary Sackett said that law enforcement labor unions must sign off before the board of supervisors can consider the ordinance. Sackett anticipated that negotiations with the unions would last until late spring.

Nikki Silverstein
Nikki Silverstein is an award-winning journalist who has written for the Pacific Sun since 2005. She escaped Florida after college and now lives in Sausalito with her Chiweenie and an assortment of foster dogs. Send news tips to [email protected].


  1. Why is the Marin County Board of Supervisors delaying the implementation of the 1185 Sheriff Oversight ordinance?

    Six deaths in the Marin County jail since the promise of the AB1185 sheriff oversight to Marin’s community members three years ago is evidence of a failed system that requires outside independent investigation.

    The MCSO and their police union have held up this process while people die, hopeless in jail, with no chance of any accountability because it is the same Marin County agency that is unjustly delaying the process.

    How many more human deaths will happen before independent oversight of the sheriff’s policies and practices, including the jail, is implemented?

    No human rights commission + no sheriff oversight commission = injustice and death in Marin County.

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  2. In January, the jail spokesperson commenting on the 3 deaths in the previous 6 months said “It seems to be more of a coincidence than any policy or procedural changes”. Will the 4th death in less than a year be considered another coincidence? Once in custody, the jail is responsible for the safety of everyone incarcerated. Investigations that report only illness or suicide are insufficient. Investigations must discover what jail procedures failed to prevent the death in custody. Health problems, short of sudden death from stroke or aneurism should be identified at booking and monitored or moved to a hospital. Suicide requires physical means which should be eliminated.

    Cause of death investigations must lead to corrective action to prevent recurrence. Until law enforcement is willing to reveal their analysis and corrective actions, we cannot have confidence in the safety of those under their protection. If it requires citizen oversight to achieve this, the system is truly dangerous.

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  3. The delay in implementing the 1185 Sheriff Oversight Ordinance is unconscionable. Independent civilian oversight is critical for real accountability around MCSO policies that may have contributed to the recent deaths in the jail as well as inequitable practices that unjustly impact BIPOC, poor and unhoused County residents.

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