Family of man killed while in custody of Harris County deputies awarded $11M

By David Yates | May 2, 2017

HOUSTON – A jury recently found Harris County and a deputy liable for the death of 23-year-old Jamail Amron, during an unconstitutional seizure and use of excessive force in 2010.

HOUSTON – On April 27, a jury found Harris County and a deputy liable for the death of 23-year-old Jamail Amron, during an unconstitutional seizure and use of excessive force in 2010.

On Sept. 30, 2010, Amron dialed 911 after ingesting a small amount of cocaine and having trouble breathing. As he waited for help, a Harris County deputy (precinct 4) arrived, cursed at Amron and then handcuffed him, even though he was being cooperative and respectful, according the family’s counsel.

Amron fled as the HCCP4 deputy forcibly moved him to the back of a waiting ambulance. Other deputy officers, including defendant Kevin Vailes, arrived and assisted in the pinning of Amron against a police car and held him while he was injected with Midazolam, a strong sedative that caused his body to collapse.

Deputy Vailes then forcibly stepped on the face of Amron covering his nose and mouth for “a period of 2 to 5 minutes,” as testified by an eyewitness.

Amron was handcuffed, lying on his back, motionless, unresponsive, and died at the scene.

Bradford Gilde, attorney for the estate, says Amron was attacked by Deputy Vailes and killed before the era of smartphone video.

“Regardless of the responding officers’ failure to video or audio record the incident, the jury agreed that Deputy Vailes conducted an unlawful seizure of Jamail Amron and that he used excessive, deadly force violating Amron’s constitutional rights,” Gilde said.

“The jury also unanimously determined the Harris County’s policies, training, supervision, and condoning of its officers’ conduct were unconstitutional. The jury’s verdict is a wake-up call to Harris County – more training, supervision, and better policies are needed to protect all citizens from harm.”

Gilde and his firm are dedicated to helping clients with their legal issues – mesothelioma, asbestos exposure, fracking and natural gas exposure, trucking and auto accidents, industrial accidents, prescription drugs, defective products, plant/refinery explosions, maritime/oil platform injuries, severe personal injury, contract disputes, commercial litigation, and construction law.

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