Family of inmate who died in Harris County Jail retains prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump

Lileana Pearson Image
Sunday, May 28, 2023
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump takes on Harris County inmate death
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In February 2023, attorney Ben Crump called for the DOJ to investigate the rising numbers of inmate deaths housed at the Harris County Jail.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- The family of Evan Lee, the man who died over a year ago in the Harris County Jail, is saying Texas Rangers told them their loved one died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Lee's family has brought on the nationally renowned attorney Ben Crump. Crump is most notable for representing Malcolm X's family and several families of other notable cases, including George Floyd.

ORIGINAL REPORT: 'Harris County jail has failed': Mom wants answers after inmate son was put on life support

On Saturday, Crump, lawmakers, and Lee's family gathered to demand answers in front of the Harris County Jail.

According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, 31-year-old Evan Lee was found unresponsive inside the jail after complaining of abdominal pain the day before.

He died in the hospital on March 22, 2022, and since then, Lee's family said they have not received an autopsy or information on the circumstances of his death.

"I understand there is an investigation, but I feel the family should have some eyesight to know what happened," Lee's mother, Jacilet Griffin, said.

RELATED: Harris Co. Jail's reported continued non-compliance comes after 4 inmates died in January alone

"Can you imagine your child being beaten to death in jail and nobody gives you any answer? It's unconscionable," Crump said.

ABC13 contacted the Texas Rangers and Harris County Sheriff's Office but has yet to receive a response.

RELATED: Mother of Harris County inmate who died in custody questions what happened: 'We just need to know'

The family is now working alongside State Representative Ron Reynolds to push for the passing of HB 3434, which would launch a study by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards on the living conditions and safety of people housed in the Harris County jail.

"It is unacceptable to wake up as a mother and not know what happened to your child," Griffin said.

Griffin said she finds the handling of her son's death unacceptable.

"The Harris County jail has been defined as the next funeral home," Griffin said.

RELATED: Attorney Ben Crump calls on DOJ to investigate Harris Co. Jail amid rising number of inmate deaths

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