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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.

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

Wednesday, 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.

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