HOUSTON – The ACLU of Texas and the Texas State Conference of NAACP Units filed a friend of the court brief asking the Texas Fourteenth Court of Appeals to review the case of Jamail Amron, an unarmed Black man who died in the custody of law enforcement officers during an arrest.
In September 2010, Jamail Amron lost his life to police violence, when an officer pressed his boot against Amron’s mouth and nostrils – in a manner described as similar to the killing of George Floyd. A jury found in favor of the Amron family, but the decision was overturned in 2020 in a panel decision by the Court of Appeals. Mr. Amron’s family is now seeking to challenge the appeals court ruling that overturned the jury’s verdict. The organizations filing the brief argue that the 2020 decision to overturn the verdict denies justice for the Amron family and allows local constables to be immune from liability for policies that allow for the unlawful use of excessive force.
“In a moment where our country is dealing with systemic racism and police violence, courts and judges need to ensure that no law enforcement agency is above the law,” said Brian Klosterboer, staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas. “The court deprived the Amron family of justice after jury ruled in their favor. This decision is especially harmful for Black Texans who already face widespread police violence. The court has a responsibility to preserve and follow existing laws that allow for police officers to be held accountable for their actions.”
“It has been over 10 years that my loving son was taken from me and my family,” said Barbara Coats, mother of Jamail Amron. “From that day forward my life has not and will never be the same. It is a visceral pain that I feel every day of my life. He is not here to fight for the injustice that was put upon him; so I have to, as his mother, do it for him. The panel decision to grant immunity to the constables and the county on the ridiculous notion that county and constables cannot be held liable, because no one constable writes policy for the whole county - I refuse to accept that explanation. I refuse to accept that there is no justice for my son. I refuse to accept that in America, where we have the greatest judicial system in the world, would accept this. So I ask of you that this opinion be reversed and to give my son Jamail Joseph Amron the justice he deserves.”
The Texas Legislative Black Caucus recently filed the George Floyd Bill for the 2021 Legislative session. The bill would require officers to de-escalate situations and would provide statewide standards for use of force. It also addresses qualified immunity and loopholes that make it hard for people like the Amron family to get accountability in court rooms.