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Why Did George Koomson Die in Dallas County Jail?

May 3rd, 2012 | Category: Dallas County, Lead Article

by Kevin Krause, May 2, 2012  Dallas Morning News

Another Dallas County jail inmate has died after fighting with jail officers, resulting in a federal lawsuit filed against the county on Tuesday.

At issue is the question of whether restraint by the jail officers caused or contributed to the Nov. 10, 2011 death of George Barnes Koomson.

Similar circumstances surround two other jail deaths that are still in litigation.

Mary Koomson, his wife, and Samuel Koomson, his father, sued not only the county but also unknown jail officers and Parkland Memorial Hospital, which provides jail medical services and where the inmate was pronounced dead.

Their suit says Koomson, 44, who was born in Ghana, was arrested by Dallas police on Oct. 31 on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

On Nov. 3, he stopped breathing and was taken to Parkland where he was put on artificial life support, the suit said. He remained in a comatose state until his death a week later.

His wife and father say in the suit that they have been “kept in the dark” about what happened between his arrest and his death. And they said the county has “thwarted” their attempts to get relevant information.

They claim in the suit that the use of excessive force and unlawful restraint, as well as the failure to give appropriate medical care, violated George Koomson’s civil rights.

Their specific allegations are as follows:

Koomson took medication for asthma.

He suffered a seizure on Nov. 2 but wasn’t taken to the jail infirmary until the next day.

 

While waiting to be moved to the infirmary, he damaged a smoke alarm and a “special response team” entered his cell. He was restrained by multiple officers who handcuffed him and used leg restraints.

A sheriff’s report said Koomson was combative with officers because he didn’t want to go to the medical ward.

The suit says jail officers used excessive force to restrain him, causing him to suffer a fatal anoxic brain injury.

It says jail medical staff did not give the hospital staff information about Koomson’s seizure the previous day or the restraint techniques that were used. The suit also says Koomson’s jail medical records do not show that any treatment was given for his asthma, his seizure “or any medical condition.”

The medical examiner determined that Koomson died of “probable cardiac dysrhythmia,” which is known as an irregular heartbeat or abnormal heart rhythm, along with stress from an “acute psychotic episode and subsequent restraint.”

The manner of death was listed as undetermined.

The circumstances appear similar to that of a separate federal case involving the 2008 death of inmate Corey Bailey, which appears headed for trial.

A federal judge in that case recently ruled that the officers who restrained Bailey before he died should remain defendants so a jury can decide whether or not they were responsible.

 

 

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3 Comments
Anonymous
10 years ago

Rest in perfect peace Uncle George. May the Almighty God have mercy on your soul. Love K. London

TRACEY WILLIAMS
6 years ago

I’M SO SORRY TO HEAR THAT GEORGE PASSED I JUST FOUND OUT YESTERDAY ON JAN. 29-2016 MY NAME IS TRACEY I WAS GEORGE FIRST WIFE AFTER WE DIVORCED I MOVED TO FT WORTH & WE REALLY DIDN’T KEEP IN TOUCH WITH ONE ANOTHER! GEORGE WAS A VERY KIND HEARTED & LOVING PERSON & IT HURTS ME TO MY SOUL THE WAY HE DIED HE DID NOT DESERVE THAT! GEORGE HAS ALWAYS HAD A SPECIAL PLACE IN MY HEART JUST AS I DID HIS REST IN PEACE GEORGE HEAVEN HAS TRULY GAINED A ANGEL.