SE Texas Record

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Mother charges three Fort Bend County deputies wrongfully killed her son

By Molly English-Bowers | Dec 11, 2015

HOUSTON--A Harris County woman is suing three Fort Bend County sheriff deputies, alleging wrongful death in their encounter with her son.

Kimberly Olaniyi, individually and as representative for the estate of Michael Blair, filed a lawsuit Nov. 3 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against deputies Tully Mangum, Robert Hartfield and J. Moore of the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office, alleging wrongful death.  

According to the complaint, on Nov. 4, Michael Blair, who had a history of mental illness, locked himself into a bathroom in their Richmond home. She called for help, and the three deputies arrived. During the encounter, the suit says, the defendants were confrontational almost immediately, kicked open the bathroom door, provoked her son, Tasered him several times and accused him of having a knife.

All of this, the suit says, was recorded by an Apple iPhone. The encounter ended when defendant Magnum shot Blair dead, the lawsuit states. 

When the deputies wrote sworn affidavits of the incident they were not aware a recording existed, the suit says. The video contradicts those sworn affidavits, and the deputies were not charged in the death of Blair, even after the recording was provided to the district attorney's office, according to the complaint.

The plaintiff alleges mental anguish, loss of inheritance, termination of the family relationship and expenses related to burying Blair.

Olaniyi seeks damages against each defendant, a jury trial, plus payment of attorney fees and court costs. She is represented by attorneys Jeffrey M. Stern and Joseph R. Corteguera of Stern Law Group in Bellaire.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case number 4:15-cv-03240.

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