Another Tarrant County Jail Inmate Dies In Custody This Week

Tarrant County officials report the death of a female inmate Monday, May 27th, while held in the Tarrant County Jail. Officials do not identify the inmate who they report was held at that facility since May 16th of this year.

Officials say detention officers found the inmate in her cell unresponsive. Medical staff is reported to have examined the woman, who they say refused further treatment, asking to be returned to her cell. Tarrant County officials say about one hour and 15 minutes later, she was found having a “medical emergency”, and was unresponsive again.

“John Peter Smith Hospital medical staff began life-saving measures and administered Narcan to the inmate twice. MedStar arrived and transported…the inmate to JPS where she was pronounced deceased.”

Officials with Tarrant County report the inmate held on a warrant out of the North Richland Hills Police Department for a charge of Theft of Property between $2,500 and $30,000, and a parole violation.

The female inmate’s death this week follows that in April of Anthony Johnson Jr., who, as per videotape released by the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department, appears to have died during an intense struggle with jail staffersafter they requested he exit his cell for a cell-wide search in pursuit of contraband.

Dallas attorney Daryl Washington for the Johnson Jr. family is calling on the Justice Department to investigate the deaths of 63 (and now 64) inmates since 2017 in this facility. Washington says jail video clearly shows a deputy placing his knee on the back of Anthony Johnson Jr. for 90 seconds before the man died, and as and after he loudly exclaimed, “I can’t breathe”. His death was believed preceeded by at least one hit with what appears to be pepper spray, and as per video released thus far, after receiving what appears to be two hard punches on the inmate as he was held by other staffers. The knee on neck/back manuever is reported to be similar to that which was blamed for the death of George Floyd May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, which set off nationwide and international marches and calls for review of police tactics when dealing with those in custody. Texas Rangers are investigating, as are Tarrant County officials. The family of Washington Jr. and their attorney Daryl Washington are calling for investigation into Anthony’s death and that of more than 60 others in the last several years.

A protest against the deaths and jail operations in response to the death of Anthony Johnson Jr. is being organized by the community group “United My Justice”; those concerned about the deaths in the Tarrant County Jail and conditions are urged to join in the meeting about 11:30 AM this Thursday, May 30th, in front of Fort Worth City Jail. At noon, protesters calling for several changes will march to Throckmorton Street, and then to the Tarrant County Jail for a protest rally.

Tarrant County spokesman Robbie Hoy says the female inmate will be identified along with release of the cause of death from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner.

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