Two Texas jail guards are indicted by a county grand jury in the asphyxiation death of an inmate | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Two Texas jail guards are indicted by a county grand jury in the asphyxiation death of an inmate

Original Publication Date June 29, 2024 - 5:36 AM

Two county jail guards have been indicted on murder charges for the asphyxiation death of an inmate in Texas.

The indictments, dated Tuesday, charge Joel Garcia, 48, and Rafael Moreno Jr., 37, in the April death of 31-year-old former Marine Anthony Johnson Jr. at the Tarrant County jail in Fort Worth.

Attorneys for Garcia or Moreno did not immediately return phone calls and text messages for comment Friday.

Randy Moore, an attorney for Garcia, has previously said that Garcia’s role in the fight was limited and that the use of force was necessary.

“The wheels of justice continue to turn in this case,” Sheriff Bill Waybourn said in a statement. “I said from the beginning that we hold accountable anyone responsible for Mr. Johnson’s death and we are doing that.”

Waybourn, who has said Moreno wrongly placed his knee on Johnson’s back after Johnson was handcuffed and that Garcia was the supervisor, initially fired the two, but both were reinstated and placed on paid leave because the sheriff’s office said the dismissals did not follow official protocol.

The force used in Johnson’s death is intended to stop and subdue people without killing them, yet increasingly it has come under scrutiny following the 2020 death of George Floyd.

Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer restrained him face down on the ground for nine minutes and pinned a knee to the back of Floyd’s neck, an incident that sparked outrage nationwide.

The family of Johnson, who had been arrested two days before his death for allegedly using a knife to threaten the driver of a vehicle, has called for a federal investigation of the jail. The family has told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Johnson was suffering from a mental health crisis.

On Friday, four Missouri prison guards were charged with murder, and a fifth with accessory to involuntary manslaughter, in the December death of a Black man who was pepper-sprayed, had his face covered with a mask and was left in a position that caused him to suffocate.

News from © The Associated Press, 2024
The Associated Press

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