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Attorneys Representing Police Misconduct Victims Across Texas

This website is maintained by the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a Dallas, Texas law firm representing people across Texas for police misconduct injury cases. We have attempted to provide useful information for those harmed by police miscponduct.

A Pittsburgh Police Officer is on Desk Duty While an Incident Suggesting Police Brutality Captured on Video is Investigated

Posted on September 21st, 2017

PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

A police officer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is on desk duty as a result of controversial cell phone video. The officer can allegedly be seen on camera repeatedly punching a suspect and slamming him onto the ground. Two people were arrested. Suspect One was wanted on charges of alleged forgery. He had evaded police on a prior occasion and attempted to evade arrest again on Tuesday, September 19, 2017, when the phone video was captured. Suspect Two allegedly interfered with the arrest of Suspect One. The second suspect is the victim of the officer’s alleged police brutality.

The incident occurred at about 10:30 p.m. outside Pittsburg’s PPG Paints indoor arena. Police officers were approaching Suspect One. They say that he looked up at one of the officers and asked him if he was the officer he had run from before. Suspect One allegedly then tried to “bull rush” the officer. At that time, according to police, Suspect Two interfered, which resulted in the incident captured on phone video. The video shows the officer’s alleged use of brutal force, which included striking Suspect Two’s head against the pavement, according to Beth Pittinger of the Citizens Police Review Board.

Suspect One has been charged with resisting arrest and flight to avoid police apprehension. The criminal complaint also shows that Suspect Two has been charged with public drunkenness, resisting arrest, and obstructing the administration of law.

Chief Scott Schubert says that their findings of the department’s internal investigation into this incident will be shared publically. In the meantime, the officer involved remains on desk duty.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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Fort Bend County is Sued by the Family of Eugene Ethridge Jr., who Allegedly Committed Suicide in the County Jail

Posted on September 20th, 2017

English: The Fort Bend County Courthouse locat...

English: The Fort Bend County Courthouse located at 29.5816° -95.7617°, Richmond, Texas, United States. The Classical Revival style building was dedicated in 1909. The Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 13, 1980. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In November 2015, 33-year-old Eugene Ethridge Jr. was discovered hanging from a bed sheet in a Fort Bend County, Texas, jail cell. In news released on September 19, 2017, Ethridge’s family is suing in a federal court. Eugene Ethridge Sr., the father, and four minor children allege that Fort Bend County and its employees are responsible for acts or inaction that led to the wrongful death of their loved one.

There were allegedly several major warning signals that changes were needed at Fort Bend County Jail, just prior to the November 2015 custodial death of Ethridge. Two months prior, another inmate allegedly committed suicide in the county jail. In addition, a mere three weeks prior, Fort Bend County had been warned that the jail was at risk for being found noncompliant with state law. Allegedly, Fort Bend County jail staff failed to regularly check cells at required intervals on the very day when the September 2015 inmate suicide occurred.

The family claims that Ethridge, who was incarcerated on a charge of driving while intoxicated, died because the jail was lax about making inmate checks. As a result, his children were deprived of their father. They also allege that Ethridge was deprived of adequate supervision due to deliberate indifference. According to the family, no effort was made to inform employees that there was a need to be compliant about cell checks.

The Fort Bend County Jail was found by the state’s jail commission to be noncompliant, as far as basic standards, two days after Ethridge’s death. By December 21, 2015, however, it was declared compliant and has remained that way, according to Texas Commission on Jail Standards Executive Director Brandon Wood.

An alarming statistic is that four suicides have occurred in the past five years at Fort Bend County Jail, according to Wood.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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Civil Rights Lawyer – Positional Asphyxia sometimes occurs during Police Restraint in Texas

Posted on September 20th, 2017

Stapelton House in Staten Island (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

Police frequently use restraint methods on people, and positional asphyxia and sudden death can occur as a result.

What is positional asphyxia?

Positional asphyxia, also known as restraint asphyxia, is the obstruction of a person’s breathing because of a restraint technique being used on him or her. Restraint asphyxia happens when a person’s body position compromises the ability to breath. If the activity isn’t stopped, the result can be death caused by asphyxia or suffocation.

A study was done and reported this summer in the Austin American Statesman out of Austin, Texas. The report alleges that medical examiners cited the process of restraint as a contributing cause of 50 fatalities that occurred in Texas while people were in custody over the past ten years. There is, however, very little research done specifically on asphyxia caused by or related to police restraint.

True-life examples of alleged positional asphyxia

Edgar Vera allegedly resisted arrest in Allen, Texas, in August 2005 when police officers were placing him under arrest for an outstanding warrant for a seat belt violation. During the struggle, Vera died. The medical examiner in Dallas, Texas, found that the death was caused by “positional asphyxia.”

A high profile case that gained widespread attention occurred in Staten Island, New York City in July 2014. A chokehold was placed on Eric Garner for allegedly illegally selling single cigarettes from packs. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide and said the cause of death was compression of the neck and chest with prone positioning during police restraint.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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A Police Officer Resigns after Threatening to Shoot a Motorist

Posted on September 18th, 2017

(Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On August 18, 2017, a police officer in Columbus, Mississippi, resigned after a video of him threatening to shoot a man went public. The officer allegedly pulled 20-year-old African American Joshua Hibbler over for speeding. Body camera footage shows their 13-minute exchange, during which Hibbler is compliant and respectful and the officer is allegedly verbally threatening. At one point, the officer can be heard giving the warning that he could empty his weapon in the vehicle. After the verbal exchange, Hibbler was given a warning and no ticket.

On Thursday, September 14, a Citizen Overview Committee for the Columbus Police Department agreed unanimously to recommend that the police officer be fired. On Tuesday, the executive session of the city council was set to decide the fate of the officer. The officer’s resignation, however, was set to be effective on Monday, September 18.

During the alleged exchange between the police officer and Hibbler, the following are the types of things that can be heard on the video:

  • The officer accused Hibbler of doing drugs.
  • Throughout the video, Hibbler never raised his voice.
  • After allegedly being threatened by the officer, Hibbler allegedly admitted to previously using marijuana.
  • Hibbler said he had no history of incidents with the police and a check on his driver’s license verified that fact.
  • The officer was placed on paid administrative leave last Wednesday, and Police Chief Oscar Lewis issued the officer a written reprimand but did not recommend termination or suspension.

The video of this exchange which led to this officer resigning seems to be the kind of thing that adds fuel to the fire of racial tension that allegedly occurs all too often between African Americans and law enforcement officers.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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The Cherokee County, Texas, Jail is Cited by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards for Noncompliance

Posted on September 15th, 2017

Cherokee County, Texas, Courthouse (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

Cherokee County Jail in Rusk, Texas, was cited by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) for alleged noncompliance with jail standards. The Jail Inspection Report was released on August 30, 2017. The inspection itself took place on September 27, 2016. The alleged violation was related to intake screening in which inmates who are known to be or are observed to be potentially suicidal and/or mentally disabled are given appropriate considerations, as outlined in Code of Criminal Procedure Article 16.22. A magistrate is supposed to be notified of the information about an inmate and mental health officials are also supposed to be informed under these circumstances.

According to the TCJS, the jailer at Cherokee County Jail allegedly failed to complete the intake screening form and adhere to necessary instructions on the form with regard to the notification of a magistrate and medical personnel.

These types of measures are extremely important, to prevent jail suicides. The laws related to at-risk inmates recently changed when Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the Sandra Bland Act into law in June 2017. Sandra Bland had just moved to Texas from Chicago in July 2015 when a police officer in Waller County, Texas pulled, her over for allegedly failing to use a turn signal. Her famous encounter with the officer was captured on dashcam video and was released on social media, where it went viral.

The exchange between the Waller County officer and Bland was in itself a source of social outrage, though people supported both sides of the confrontation. The entire incident took on even greater significance when Bland committed suicide in jail three days later. The Sandra Bland Act, in her honor, provides greater assurance that mentally disturbed people who are incarcerated have more help. In addition, agencies will investigate all jail deaths and police officers are required to receive de-escalation training.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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