Galveston County Sheriff Refuses To Release Documents In Death Of Gay Man In Custody
(HOUSTON, TX) – The Galveston County Sheriff is refusing to release documents, any videos and the intake form of a gay man that died while in custody at the Galveston County Jail back in March 2015 fearing a lawsuit from the family. A move that shows not all law enforcement agencies are ready to be completely transparent.
On March 6, 2015, Jesse C. Jacobs was processed into the Galveston County Jail to serve 15 days for a second DWI offense. He served about half of that, and was pronounced dead on March 14, 2015 at University of Texas – Medical Branch in Galveston after being transported from the Galveston County Jail.
Sheriff Henry Trochesset told local ABC affiliate KTRK-13 he would not release anything out of fear of litigation from the family. As protests and riots continue around the country, and in Texas over the Sandra Bland case; the Jacob’s case is being hidden from the family and the public by Galveston officials.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that gives you the right to access information from the government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.
The Jacobs family is outraged over the lack of transparency. “I’m angry,” says Jacobs’ father, also named Jesse. “Because as far as I’m concerned, they executed my son just as sure as if they put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.” Jesse told Miya Shay of KTRK-13.
In accordance to the law, the Sheriff of Galveston County must disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions, which protect interests such as personal privacy, and national security. None of the nine exemptions would allow for the Sheriff to withhold information that should be made available to the public and family of Jacobs.
One exemption would be an on-going criminal investigation into the death of Jacobs. The Galveston County Sheriff has stated that the cause of death in the autopsy report is natural causes.
KTRK-13 asked Sheriff Trochesset if he believes everything was done by the book. “It appears that way,” he answered. Trochesset told About Magazine ‘he hasn’t worked inside the jail it self in about 30 years.’