The families of two people detained in different county jails in Texas have filed federal wrongful death lawsuits against detention officers for allegedly causing the untimely deaths of their loved ones. In both cases, the victims were found dead a few days after they were arrested and detained.
Excessive Force during Restraint
In one case involving a 42-year old man, an autopsy showed that the deceased person had been physically restrained and pepper-sprayed before his death. Prior to the decedent’s death, police had arrested him after responding to a disturbance call where they claimed that they saw the decedent shouting and throwing things out of a window. Police also said that they decided to take the decedent in after learning that he had outstanding warrants.
The family of the decedent maintains that the detention officers used excessive force when they physically restrained him around the neck, which act compressed his airways and prevented him from breathing.
The Case of Apparent Suicide
In a more recent case, a 28-year old woman was arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer who stopped her car following an improper lane change. She failed to post the $500 bail and stayed in detention for a few days until she was found hanging in her cell. Jail officers said that the deceased woman had been depressed over her failure to make bail and had taken her own life.
But the woman’s family is not convinced that she had committed suicide. While a grand jury refused to indict the decedent’s jailers, the woman’s family pursued a case for wrongful death against the detention officers. In their lawsuit, the family maintains that the jail officers failed to check on the decedent more frequently and also failed to conduct a mental evaluation of the detained woman after she disclosed her history of attempted suicides.
Wrongful Death in Texas
Under Texas tort law, wrongful death is a type of personal injury lawsuit that a deceased person’s family or estate can bring against the person or parties responsible for the death of a decedent. It may be brought in catastrophic accidents such as car accidents, truck accidents, and bus accidents that result in death.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation under a wrongful death claim.
In El Paso, Texas, the personal injury lawyers at Gilstrap & Associates, P.C. have more than four decades of combined experience in litigation, representing clients in a wide range of cases including wrongful death, malpractice and premises liability.
We invite you to call our offices today at (915) 581-0020 to speak to an attorney about your situation.