After Inmate Deaths, FBI Probes Texas Jail

By Allan Lengel

The FBI, at the request of Harris County, Texas, Sheriff Ed Gonzales, has opened an investigation into the deaths of two inmates at the county jail.

Sheriff Ed Gonzales

While the the focus, at least initially is on the two inmates, ABC News reports that county records show 21 inmates died in custody in 2021 and 28 died last year. Of those, 32 deaths came within a 14 month stretch.

“It’s appalling that you would have 32 detainees (die) in the Harris County Jail in a 14-month period,” attorney Ben Crump said during the press conference, according to ABC. “I mean, nobody would really believe it unless you have these bodies that showed you it was really happening.”

The FBI will begin focusing on the deaths of inamtes Jaquaree Simmons, 23 who died in February 2021 from a blunt-force head injury, and Jacoby Pillow ,who died in January 2023, ABC reports. Pillow had an altercation with guards and was later found unresponsive in his cell.

“These investigations will be fair, thorough, and impartial, and will proceed independently of any state investigations involving incidents at the jail. To preserve the integrity and capabilities of the investigations, no details of the ongoing process will be publicly shared,” FBI Houston said in a statement Monday.

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