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updated: 11/5/2013 7:45 AM

Jury rules against Chicago in activist's death

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Associated Press

A federal jury has awarded $1 million in damages to the family of a woman who died in the custody of the Chicago Police Department.

May Molina was an asthmatic, diabetic and obese 55-year-old community activist who died in 2004 after officers allegedly ignored warnings she needed medical help. An autopsy found packets of heroin in her esophagus.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports ( ) lawyers for Molina's family say the ruling will force Chicago police to change the way it handles suspects.

During the trial, attorneys for the city argued Molina had "only herself to blame" because she swallowed the drugs before being arrested during a raid on her home.

Family attorney John Loevy says once Molina was arrested, police had a duty to ensure she got medical help.

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