PRINCIPAL OFFICE: DALLAS, TEXAS: (214) 670-9989 | TOLL FREE: (866) 670-9989

Man Jailed in Pasadena, Texas Dies – Arrested for Public Intoxication

iStock 157569394
Inside The Old Idaho State Penitentiary

The Pasadena Police Department, in Pasadena, Texas, filed a custodial death report with the Attorney General of Texas regarding the death of Jamal Ali Shaw.  Mr. Shaw was only 32 years old when he passed away.  Information in this post was obtained from that report, and we make no allegation of any wrongdoing against anyone.  Instead we are providing general information about both Mr. Shaw’s unfortunate situation and Constitutional claims related to intoxicated persons who have been arrested and jailed. 

On March 28, 2019, at approximately 2:26 a.m., Pasadena, Texas police officers arrested Mr. Shaw for public intoxication other than alcohol.  Police officers transported Mr. Shaw to the Pasadena jail.  Mr. Shaw was allegedly booked and confined without incident. 

At approximately 6:13 a.m., other prisoners notified jail staff that Mr. Shaw was convulsing on the floor of the jail cell.  Jail staff attempted to restrain Mr. Shaw, but he was allegedly combative.  Therefore, jailers used a Taser to attempt to subdue Mr. Shaw. Jailers ultimately restrained Mr. Shaw, and EMTs arrived at the scene.  Medical staff performed CPR.

Mr. Shaw received medical care at an area hospital, but he was pronounced deceased on March 29, 2019 at 12:15 p.m.  The Pasadena Police Department is investigating the death, along with the Medical Examiner Services with Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.  The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is also investigating the death.  Pasadena police detectives interviewed other prisoners in Mr. Shaw’s cell, and they have “conducted a cursory review of the jail surveillance video.”

While many counties in Texas refer jail death cases to the Texas Rangers, other cities and counties choose to use local law enforcement.  We believe that the Texas Rangers help add a buffer, in some cases, between local law enforcement officers and what should be impartial investigators.

The United States Constitution, specifically the 14th Amendment, provides protection to pretrial detainees who have been arrested and jailed in Texas city and/or county jails.  Jailers must provide reasonable medical care and mental health care to inmates.  This includes providing medical care to inmates who are too intoxicated to care for themselves, and/or who are so intoxicated that they are likely to suffer serious injury or death. 

Further, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards has issued a standard form to be used at intake with county jail inmates.  If an inmate answers certain questions in a certain way, the jail must notify a local judge.  We are uncertain as to whether a local judge was notified with regard to Mr. Shaw, or whether the City’s jail used the form.

author avatar
Dean Malone Lead Trial Lawyer - Jail Neglect
Education: Baylor University School of Law

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.