Minneapolis, Minnesota county jail inmate Cristian Rivera-Coba, 22, died on July 21, three days after his arrest. Now, his family is demanding answers, claiming that hospital staff described his cause of death as drinking “too much water.”

As reported by VICE, Rivera-Coba’s mother, Obdulia Coba, cried at a recent protest, “I’m never going to hear ‘I love you, mom’ again. No mother should have to go through this.”

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On July 18, Cristian Rivera-Coba was pulled over by police. They arrested him, charging him with driving under the influence, fleeing police, and car theft. At the time, the 22-year-old allegedly admitted to taking Percocet pills laced with fentanyl.

At that point, he was booked into Anoka County Jail in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and died just three days later. Two months down the line, the family is reportedly still waiting on Rivera-Coba’s final medical report, and are left with few answers.

“He had a long life ahead of him,” his mother said at the recent protest. “Cristian didn’t like to fight or see anyone fighting. That’s why I want answers.”

Anoka County said that the inmate “became unresponsive” in the jail

Last month, Anoka County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement about Rivera-Coba’s case.

“On July 21, 2023, at approximately 8:00 P.M., an adult male inmate in the Anoka County Jail became unresponsive while being attended to by a detention deputy and medical staff,” they explained.

They said they “requested assistance” from Allina Health Emergency Medical Services, who “began actively administering life saving measures on the inmate.” At that point, they transported Rivera-Coba to a nearby hospital, where he was declared dead.

As per the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office’s statement, the death is currently being investigated by authorities.


The Minneapolis community, which saw the killing of George Floyd by cops also say that this is another example of the brutality faced by Black and non-white groups in the state. #minnesota #minneapolis #blm #cristianriveracoba #jail #blacklivesmatter

♬ original sound – VICE News

As per VICE, the inmate’s mother was notified of his death by a phone call. Hospital staff reportedly told her that day that he died from drinking “a lot of water.” The family explained to the outlet that they personally rushed to the hospital, and recall begging for answers.

The late 22-year-old’s older sister, Yessenia, described the family’s current state to MPR News. “It’s shocking — it happened all too fast. We don’t have any answers.”

The way he went just doesn’t make sense to us,” she added.

Since Rivera-Coba’s death, his family has organized several community events, continuing to demand answers. In July, they held a fundraiser in their backyard to raise money for funeral costs, while remembering the 22-year-old’s “contagious” smile.

His mother also took the time during the fundraiser to talk about her plans going forward. “I want them to tell me what happened,” she told MPR News. “I have many questions for the officials. And I want them to respond to all of them.”

The family will not stop until they get more answers about the 22-year-old’s untimely death

Rivera-Coba’s family has also taken to the streets in their demand for justice. As per VICE, the Minneapolis community organized an event in August, where people protested the lack of answers in connection to the death.

Many people, including Rivera-Coba’s loved ones, held up signs while speaking into a microphone. Meanwhile, some activists tied the inmate’s passing to George Floyd’s 2020 death at the hands of police, which also took place in Minneapolis.

One activist said, “Enough is enough. And I mean no one, under any circumstances, should leave a jail in a body bag. Say his name: Cristian Rivera-Coba.”

Rivera-Coba’s grieving mother added, “I’m never going to see him again, ever again. Why does it have to be this way?”

Other videos show his mother speaking directly outside the Anoka County Jail with a megaphone, demanding justice.

You can hear her say, “Respond, respond. What did you do to my child? What did you do to Cristian Rivera?”

“If you had the guts to do what you did to my child, then should have the guts to answer about what you did to my child,” she said.

“Just because we’re Latinos, doesn’t mean we are going to stay silent,” she added. “There won’t be any more Latinos being stepped on.”

Loved ones have now set up a GoFundMe for the Rivera-Coba family, in order to give him a “beautiful memorial.”