Alabama Prison Guard Dies After Exposure to Mace

11.29.23

A corrections officer who worked at Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer, Alabama, died on November 10, a day after she was exposed to mace when a fellow officer sprayed an incarcerated person like a “cockroach,” Alabama Political Reporter reports.

Officer Yashea Chapel suffered an asthma attack on November 9 when she inhaled Sabre Red Mace while on duty at Donaldson, her mother, Betty Davidson, told APR.

Ms. Davidson said no one from the Alabama Department of Corrections had contacted her about her daughter’s death. People incarcerated at Donaldson told her that the asthma attack forced her daughter to leave work on November 9.

The following day, Ms. Davidson said she received a call that her daughter had died at Walker Baptist Medical Center, where the doctor said it looked like Ms. Chapel died as the result of an anaphylactic asthma attack.

Ms. Davidson told APR that she wanted an autopsy done, but her daughter was embalmed without her permission before evidence about her cause of death could be obtained.

Ms. Chapel was the mother of a five-year-old child and a four-month-old infant, and her mother learned from her death certificate that she was pregnant.

“That mace didn’t take one life; it took two lives,” Ms. Davidson told APR. “My daughter was pregnant.”

Ms. Chapel was well loved by colleagues and incarcerated people, her mother told APR, adding she is shocked that ADOC has said nothing to her about her daughter’s death. She feels like ADOC is trying to sweep her daughter under the rug, according to APR.

APR reported that ADOC had not responded to its reporter’s inquiries.