‘This has to stop’: Family of man killed while in police custody in 2010 still fighting for justice

New settlement for family of man who died in custody
New settlement for family of man who died in custody

HOUSTON – Harris County reached a settlement with the family of a man killed in law enforcement custody more than a decade ago.

The family of Jamail Amron said no amount of money would bring their son back or equate to justice.

On Thursday, the county announced it had reached an undisclosed settlement with the family for the 2010 death of 23-year-old Jamail.

“In 2010 Jamal Amron died handcuffed and under the foot of a Harris County Constable,” read a Tweet from Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “The facts of his case were eerily similar to George Floyd’s.”

Jamail died in the parking lot of a Burger King on East Cypresswood Drive in Spring on Sept. 30, 2010. Amron was handcuffed and in the custody of Harris County Pct. 4 deputies. Ali Amron, Jamial’s father, said his son was the one who called 911 that night for help.

“He had some sort of cocaine in his body that night and he didn’t feel good. He called 911 himself,” said Ali. “He asked for help, and this is how his help came.”

Ali said his son was injected with a drug by paramedics, who tried to put Jamail in an ambulance. Ali said his son refused and tried to get a restaurant worker at the drive-thru restaurant to call for help on his behalf. That’s when Ali said the deputy threatened his son and had Jamil on the ground face up.

“Jamail was shaking on the ground. The officer put his foot in his face for three to five minutes. Jamail suffocated on his own vomit,” Ali said with tears streaming from his eyes.

Jamail died in the parking lot. His father said the case is similar to George Floyd’s.

Floyd died in 2020 after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes.

“Jamail died just like George Floyd,” Ali said. “He was helpless.”

Jurors in a civil court case found that deputies used excessive force the night Jamail died. The family was supposed to receive money, but an appeals court reversed the decision. On Thursday, the county announced a settlement.

Jamail’s mother Barbara Coates said the undisclosed settlement isn’t justice for her son. She wants the deputies held accountable. There have been no charges in the case.

“For him to die like that, and that’s all I see every day,” Coates said behind tears. “This is something that’s in my vision. When I go to sleep, I see it. When I wake up, it’s pure torture.”

Coates said there are no words to describe the pain she feels. She said her son was sweet and healthy. Coates said he loved cars, weightlifting, and soccer. She said he had plans to become an engineer.

Coates wants justice for her son.

“So many other mothers and fathers, they’re feeling just like I do right now. This has got to stop,” she said.

Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee released a statement saying, in part:

“This settlement will not bring Mr. Amron back to his family, but I hope that it provides them some solace.”

Coates and Ali said the money is insignificant. They feel as though the county is trying to keep their son’s death a secret. They said they want Harris County to hold the constables accountable for Jamil’s death.

“Honestly, I don’t want a penny,” Ali said. “I would give it back to them. All I want them to do is take it to a higher level.”