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Man Dies in Garza County Jail in Post, Texas From Apparent Drug Overdose

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Juan Raul Garcia, Jr. passed away while in the custody of the Garza County Sheriff’s Office on February 9, 2018.  Information in this post was obtained from a custodial death report filed by the Garza County Sheriff’s Office with the Attorney General of Texas.  We make no allegation of any wrongdoing but instead are simply providing information.

Mr. Garcia entered the Garza County Jail on February 9, 2018 at approximately 3:49 p.m., being booked on a warrant out of a different county for driving while his license was invalid.  At the request of a jailer, EMS was called to check Mr. Garcia upon intake.  EMS checked Mr. Garcia’s vital signs and said that he was likely having a panic attack.  Therefore, at approximately 3:49 p.m., Mr. Garcia was escorted to cell 192 to be changed  out.  A medical officer advised the captain that Mr. Garcia needed to be moved to a detox holding cell, number 188, for observation.  The report is not clear about why Mr. Garcia was moved to a detox cell if in fact it was believed that he was only having a panic attack.

Mr. Garcia told an officer that he did not think he was going to make it.  He then said that he had swallowed about a gram of methamphetamine.  He was shaking and sweating profusely.  Mr. Garcia, in response to being asked whether his body felt hot, answered, “Yes.”  He was then asked if he would like to take a shower to cool down and maybe calm his nerves.  He was asked one or more additional questions about how much methamphetamine he had swallowed and how often he used methamphetamine.  It appears from the report that Mr. Garcia was not provided any additional medical assistance after the jail learned that he had swallowed methamphetamine and was having significant physical issues.  It also appears that, no later than approximately 4:45 p.m., Mr. Garcia was left in detox cell number 188.

At approximately 6:05 p.m., a medical officer called the captain on the phone and said that she needed the captain in the jail.  The captain entered the book-in area and observed Mr. Garcia on the floor in detox cell number 188, along with another police officer doing chest compressions.  Mr. Garcia was pronounced deceased within the hour.

Once again, as we indicate above, we make no allegation of  any wrongdoing in this post.  However, pretrial detainees, who have been convicted of nothing, are entitled pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution to reasonable medical care.  They are also entitled to be protected from themselves and others.  If jailers know of medical needs and are deliberately indifferent to those needs, they can be liable for violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and can be sued for damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.

Written By: author image Dean Malone
author image Dean Malone
Dean Malone is the founder of Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a jail neglect civil rights law firm. Mr. Malone earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Texas at Dallas, graduating summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA, and from Baylor University School of Law with a general civil litigation concentration. Mr. Malone served in several staff positions for the Baylor Law Review, including executive editor. Mr. Malone is an experienced trial lawyer, trying a number of cases to jury verdict and also handling arbitrations through final hearing. He heads the jail neglect section of his law firm, in which lawyers litigate cases involving serious injury and death resulting from jail neglect and abuse. Lawyers frequently refer cases to Mr. Malone due to his focus on this very complicated civil rights practice area.