/  05.28.2021

Eleven employees of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office were terminated and six were suspended without pay in connection with the death of a Black inmate, ABC 13 reported.

Jaquaree Simmons was in custody on weapons charges when he got into an altercation with some detention officers. The following day, he was found dead in his jail cell.

Findings from an ongoing investigation, which has collected data from interviews, phone records, video footage and medical records, show that he died from blunt trauma to the head. Further details of the events leading to his passing were also released.

According to investigators, Simmons’ cell toilet overflowed on Feb. 16 after he used his clothes to clog it. As officers reported to his cell to tidy up the mess, they reportedly used excessive force against the inmate — actions that were said to be performed outside of the security camera’s view. Simmons was stripped naked and sent back to his clean cell without clothes — a violation of the sheriff’s office policies.

Hours later, when officers delivered a meal to Simmons, he allegedly launched his tray at one of the cops and charged him, prompting the cop to strike him in the face. He was then taken to medical personnel for an evaluation. While en route to the medical team, the detention officers allegedly used excessive force against Simmons a second time. Per the investigation, he “suffered multiple blows to his head” as he was led out of his cell.

Amid the evaluation, Simmons was reportedly still conscious. The medical officials determined he had a cut on his left eyebrow as well as his upper lip. An X-ray was also ordered for a later time as power in the building was out, but Simmons was never brought back to the clinic. On Feb. 17, he was found dead in his cell.

Investigators determined that “completed rounds” and use of force against Simmons were never documented — two more violations of the HSCO’s rules and regulations. Officers Garland Barrett, Patricia Brummett, Joshua Dixon, Alysheia Mallety, Israel Martinez, Eric Morales, Jacob Ramirez, Alfredo Rodriguez, Daniel Rodriguez, Dana Walker and Chadwick Westmoreland were subsequently let go from their positions.

Additionally, Officers Antonio Barrera, Jeremy McFarland, Alexandra Saucier, Ralph Tamayo and Sergeants Benny Galindez and Rene Villaloboz were suspended and will be subjected to further discipline if they don’t comply to the sheriff’s office policies.

“While the specific policy violations varied from one employee to the next, they include use of excessive force, failure to document use of force, failure to intervene and making false statements to investigators,” the HCSO said in a statement. “Some also violated procedures related to proper monitoring of the physical welfare of people in the jail.”


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