Huntsville-based justice reform group asking for accountability in death of woman found in HPD van


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Huntsville-based group, Citizens Coalition for Justice Reform, is asking for more from the Huntsville Police Department when it comes to the Christina Nance case.

Earlier this month, Christina Nance was reported missing by her family on October 2nd, on October 7th, her body was found in an unlocked Huntsville Police Department van on HPD property.

The Huntsville Police Department showed surveillance footage at a news conference last week showing Christina Nance climbed into the unlocked van on her own late last month. Her body was found more than 10 days later.

A crucial piece of information was given at that news conference, the HPD van was unlocked. According to The Huntsville Police Department, that’s out of protocol, something the Citizen’s Coalition for Justice Reform takes issue with.

In a press release, the Coalition called the unlocked HPD van, “negligent behavior,” and says they want more accountability on the part of HPD

Angela Curry, lesion for the Citizens Coalition for Justice Reform, says the news conference was a step in the right direction but there’s still more work to be done.

“So this was the first time where we had a situation where someone was severely injured and actually died, where we had a briefing about what happened,” Curry told News 19, “So we are aware of other cases where people have been sent to the ICU, they haven’t been arrested but they did have an encounter with law enforcement, and the public was not made aware of that.”

Not only is the CCJR asking that the Huntsville Police Department be more transparent in all cases moving forward but they’re also asking for accountability in the Nance case.

“With responsibility also comes accountability, so the Huntsville Police Department has already stated that they violated their policy as it relates to having a van, vehicle unlocked,” Curry said.

Police Deputy Chief Dewayne Mccarver said the van was formerly used for inmate transport, meaning it had no handles to open it from the inside, so once Nance climbed inside, she locked herself in the van.

“They don’t appear to have a protocol in place to do safety checks on a periodic basis, which unfortunately was to the detriment of Ms. Nance,” Curry said. Nance was found 12 days later by an officer who was walking by the van and noticed shoes outside of the van.

Police said the surveillance footage shows Nance opened the windows but did not call for help. Curry says the department needs to continue to be transparent about this case.

“Moving forward will the department come forward and state these are the things that we have done to make sure that this does not happen again. It’s just after action and keeping the public informed.”

The group says they have not spoken with the family since they are still grieving, “Most families we have advocated for have reached out to us, but we haven’t spoken to the Nance family,” but are speaking out solely on the department’s police and facts from the case.

As for what the group would like to see regarding the Nance case, “What are the repercussions or the consequences of violating that policy, what are the different options as far as that’s concerned,” adding that it’s now up to HPD to stay transparent and continue updating the citizens about the investigation.

The Huntsville Police Department says it is still investigating as to why the van was left unlocked.

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