The Home Affairs Division of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office reported a series of interactions between detention officials and inmate Jaquaree Simmons on February 16. In the morning, guards responded to Mr. Simmons’ cell after he used his clothes to clog the toilet, causing water to overflow and spill onto the floor. After the guards cleared the premises, they returned Mr. Simmons to his cell without any clothing, according to the sheriff’s report.
A series of clashes ensued throughout the day and night, with Mr. Simmons receiving “several blows to the head,” according to the sheriff’s report. Mr. Simmons died of “blunt head trauma with subdural hematoma”, the death being considered homicide. The Houston Police Department has launched a criminal investigation into Mr. Simmons’ death.
The incident occurred during the historic Texas cold snap, which cut power to large areas of the state, including the Harris County Jail on the night of February 16.
“In a natural disaster, we expect to see the best from our people. These 11 people have betrayed my trust and the trust of our community, ”Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a statement. “They abused their authority. Their conduct towards Mr. Simmons was reprehensible. They showed utter disregard for the safety and well-being of a person they were directly responsible for protecting. They aggravated, rather than defused, the situation. Their conduct was unacceptable and inexcusable and discredited them, the sheriff’s office and their colleagues. None of them deserve to wear the Harris County Sheriff’s Office crest ever again.
The fired prison workers, according to the sheriff, are:
- Detention Officer Garland Barrett
- Detention Officer Patricia Brummett
- Detention Officer Joshua Dixon
- Detention Officer Alysheia Mallety
- Detention Officer Israel Martinez
- Detention Officer Eric Morales
- Detention Sgt. Jacob Ramirez
- Detention Officer Alfredo Rodriguez
- Detention Officer Daniel Rodriguez
- Assistant Dana Walker
- Detention Officer Chadwick Westmoreland