Civil rights attorneys file lawsuit against Harris County Jail after recent inmate deaths

Attorneys and families have filed a lawsuit against the Harris County Jail and are calling for a federal investigation after six inmates have died this year.


“How many more deaths has to occur at the Harris County jail before we say enough is enough sheriff. We have to do something about this jail,” Attorney Ben Crump said.


Earlier this month, Robert Terry died from a medical emergency.


Several leaders spoke about the ongoing issues at the facility and demanded answers for families whose loved ones died in custody.


“We are here to seek justice. These folks that are in jail awaiting their day in court, they are not convicted of any crime. They deserve humanity and they deserve life,” Attorney Paul Grinke said.


Evan Griffin Lee died at the jail last year. His death was ruled a homicide, but his mother said they have not received the autopsy report from the medical examiner’s office


She wants justice for her son and many others who died at the facility.


“On March 22, 2022, my son was pronounced dead,” Griffin said.


Jacilet Griffin said the past 431 days have been tough not knowing how her son Evan Lee died while in custody at the Harris County Jail.


Attorneys Ben Crump and Paul Grinke are representing Lee and other families.


“Even though she doesn’t have the autopsy yet, we have been notified that his death was a result of blunt force trauma to the head,” Crump said.


“Mr. Crump and I also represent an even greater number of individuals who have been beaten nearly to death,” Attorney Grinke said.


In 2022, 27 inmates died at the jail and so far, 6 inmates have died this year. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is calling for a federal investigation.


“This has nothing to do with crime statistics or bringing down crime or promoting crime or turning a blind eye,” Jackson Lee said.


Griffin and Representative Ron Reynolds filed HB 3434 to help change policies at the jail.


“There is nothing we can do to bring them back, but we can make sure this doesn’t happen again to another family,” Reynolds said.


“Sheriff Ed González is a good man but his facility that he is watching over, the deaths that is happening on your way watch, we need answers,” Griffin said.


KPRC reached out to the medical examiner’s office about Lee’s autopsy results but have not heard back.

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