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Bexar County (San Antonio) Jailer Allegedly Neglected Cell Check Duties Prior to Inmate Suicide

Thursday, July 20th, 2017
English: The Bexar County Courthouse in San An...

English: The Bexar County Courthouse in San Antonio, TX. Taken from nearby Main Plaza. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Bexar County Sheriff’s Office detention officer was given a 10-day suspension in March 2017 because he allegedly did not properly supervise inmates in his care last year during a period when an inmate committed suicide. One inmate ended up in the wrong jail cell, and that inmate’s cellmate, 54-year-old Ricardo Gamez, hanged himself while he was alone. The man’s suicide occurred four days after he allegedly agreed to plead guilty to his third charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Family members said Gamez was highly distraught over the possibility of serving up to 20 years in prison. His was one of five suicides last year at the Bexar County Jail.

This suicide came shortly after it was revealed that the system for checking on inmates was flawed. According to Sheriff Javier Salazar, electronic check-ins revealed that the detention officer did a check of the area. However, Salazar says the officer failed to look into that cell in particular. There have been allegations by investigators for more than a year that jailers in Bexar County have been cutting corners.

The way it works is that detention officers walk through population areas with an electronic wand. They are supposed to do a visual check of each cell before touching the wand to the electronic signal box on the side of the individual door, signaling that the check has been done.

In mid-2016, after several custodial suicides had occurred in Bexar County Jail last year, some detention officers made allegations to investigators that other officers were not actually checking the cells. They alleged that some officers were only using the electronic system to make it look as though they did the required checks. It was after these things were revealed that Gamez took his own life.

Salazar said that his office and the District Attorney’s office are conducting re-investigations into Gamez’s death as well as other past custodial deaths.

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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