Home / National News / Second Person Dies in Houston Police Custody in 2 Weeks, Officials Say


(HOUSTON) — A 29-year-old woman died in police custody in Houston Sunday, police said, marking the second custody death in the city in less than 10 days.

The deaths, which are under investigation by the Houston Police Department, come amid an uproar into the case of Sandra Bland, who was found hanging in her cell in nearby Waller County on July 13.

Although Waller County is part of the greater Houston metro area, the Waller County Jail and Waller County District Attorney’s office are not affiliated with the city of Houston or the Houston police.

The woman in the Houston case, whose identity has not been released, was arrested for public intoxication, the Houston police said Monday.

She was examined at the scene by paramedics and then taken to the Houston PD’s Southeast Jail by a patrol officer, police said. “Upon arrival [at the jail] and before being booked into the jail, the woman was found to be unresponsive,” police said.

Jail personnel performed CPR, police said, and she was taken to Ben Taub General Hospital where she was declared dead.

The incident is under investigation by the Houston Police Department’s Homicide Division and Internal Affairs Division. Autopsy and toxicology results are pending, police said.

Eight days earlier, a man who had been “showing signs of mental distress” also died in police custody, the Houston police said.

On July 18, an officer was at a Houston convenience store when he saw a man “bleeding from the head,” Houston police said in a release.

The officer tried to help the man “who became combative and was showing signs of mental distress,” the police said. “As the officer tried to get the suspect medical attention, the suspect charged the officer.”

The suspect then “charged at” other responding officers, “so the suspect was restrained,” police said.
Paramedics were attending to the suspect “when he went from fighting to suddenly being non-responsive,” police said. The man, whose identity was not released, was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead.

According to the police, witnesses said the man was injured before the incident and police had “made multiple attempts to calm the suspect in order for him to be treated for his injuries.”

This incident is also under investigation by the Houston Police Department’s Homicide division and Internal Affairs division. Houston police said today they are still awaiting the man’s autopsy results.
Both of these deaths come on the heels of the widely-publicized arrest of Bland, who died at a jail in nearby Waller County, Texas, on July 13.

On July 10, Bland was pulled over in a traffic stop in Prairie View, Texas, and after a confrontation with a Texas trooper, she was arrested on an assault charge.

On July 13, Bland was found hanging in her Waller County Jail cell, with the plastic cell trash bin liner around her neck, officials said.

Details from Bland’s autopsy indicated that she died as a result of suicide and that there were no signs of struggle that would be consistent with a violent death.

However, Bland’s family is disputing the cause of death and is awaiting the results of an independent autopsy.

A review committee will look into everything related to Bland’s arrest and death, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said Monday.

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