USA – Sherman, North Texas: Lawsuit describes woman’s disturbing death outside Texas cop car (2014-05-28)

Published on May 28 2014 by admin

[[Summary / comments: Lesa Surratt died of injuries suffered in a traffic stop in August 2013, including an order to “Tase that bitch.”. She was tasered, and Ms Surratt was taken to hospital, where she was found to be in a vegetative state and placed on life support, according to a lawsuit brought by her sister. Lesa Surratt lay on the ground for 20 minutes or more, convulsing, the suit states. On Sept. 2, she was removed from life support and declared dead, the suit states. Surratt’s autopsy showed that she died of asphyxiation, according to the complaint.]]

chron.com, by Carol Christian

A North Texas woman claims that her sister’s death during a traffic stop can be blamed on the actions of Sherman police, including an order to “Tase that bitch.”

Linda Surratt, as an individual and as a representative of her sister’s estate, filed the wrongful death lawsuit May 25 in U.S. District Court in Sherman, about 65 miles north of Dallas.

Named as defendants are Officer Brian McClarin, Officer John Doe Nos. 2-5 and the city of Sherman.

According to the original complaint, Lesa Surratt died of injuries suffered in a traffic stop in August 2013. Officers Doe 2 and 3 stopped Lesa Surratt in Sherman, purportedly for failing to signal a lane change, the suit states. A passenger named Monica Garza was also in Surratt’s car.

Doe No. 2 arrested Surratt and placed her in the backseat of his patrol car without searching her or requesting that a female officer do so, the suit states. Garza was placed in the same patrol car.

While in the backseat, Surratt removed a “small amount” of cocaine from her person and began swallowing it, which Garza observed, the suit states.

When Doe No. 2 saw what was happening, he got in the back seat, reached across Garza and began hitting Surratt with an open fist and his flashlight to get her to spit out the cocaine. According to the complaint, when this tactic didn’t work, he pushed the flashlight against her neck, choking her until she passed out.

Does No. 2 and 3 removed Surratt from the patrol car and, as she lay on the ground, McClarin gave the order to “tase the bitch,” the suit states. One of the officers did so, the suit states.

Doe Nos. 4 and 5 arrived and began intimidating and removing witnesses from the scene, telling one witness to put away his phone and stop videotaping and to go home, the suit states.

Before any of the defendants called for medical help, Lesa Surratt lay on the ground for 20 minutes or more, convulsing, the suit states.

“She was in obvious need of medical treatment from the time she was removed from the patrol car,” the complaint states. “She was allowed by the officers to continue to deteriorate to the point of being brain dead.”

Surratt was taken to Sherman’s Texas Presbyterian Hospital-Wilson N. Jones, where she was found to be in a vegetative state and placed on life support, according to the lawsuit. On Sept. 2, she was removed from life support and declared dead, the suit states.

Surratt’s autopsy showed that she died of asphyxiation, according to the complaint.

When Linda Surratt’s attorneys, Don Bailey and Micah Belden, requested the police report and video of the incident, the city turned to the state attorney general for an opinion.

On Dec. 19, the attorney general’s office ruled that Sherman’s city attorney should release a summary of the basic information of the incident to Surratt’s attorney, but the city has not done so, the suit states. Thus, Surratt says she does not have names of four of the officers involved.

Surratt is suing for unspecified damages for excessive force, violations of constitutional rights, deprivation of reasonable medical care, wrongful death, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery and breach of fiduciary duty.

Asked if the city had withheld the police report and video and if so, why, Sherman City Attorney Brandon S. Shelby provided this statement:

“On Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, while in police custody, Lesa Surra

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/Lawsuit-describes-woman-s-disturbing-death-5510283.php

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