“He was somebody’s child” mother of man killed in jail demands justice


HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — “He was somebody’s child. He was somebody’s brother, he was somebody’s uncle,” said LaRhonda Biggles about her son Jaquaree Simmons.

“We miss him. We didn’t even get to say goodbye.”

Biggles say she was sentenced to a lifetime of grief after Jaquaree’s death while in custody at the Harris County Jail.

He was booked on February 10th for a charge of felon in possession of a firearm and was pronounced dead seven days later.

At a press conference Friday afternoon Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez announced the results of a three month internal affairs investigation.

“I have fired 11 employees for various serious policy violations,” said Gonzalez.

The investigation found on February 16th detention officers repeatedly used force against Jaquaree beginning in the morning when the inmate clogged his toilet with his own clothes.

Investigators say he took blows to the head throughout the day from detention officers but the only incident recorded was when a detention officer punched Jaquaree in the face.

“I know he was hurting. I know that he was confused. No one was there to help him. And it makes me angry. It just makes me angry to know that you could hurt someone like that and just not stop,” said Biggles

He was taken for a medical evaluation where an x-ray was ordered, but staff never followed through.

He was found unresponsive in his cell the next day on February 17th.

“Jaquaree didn’t have to earn the right to live,” said civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, now representing Biggles.

Together they are hoping for criminal charges against the former employees.

“I want to let them know that they broke a family horribly and that they didn’t have to kill my child like that and I am not going to stop until justice is served for my baby.”

Houston Police are conducting the criminal investigation into Jaquaree’s death.

Their results will be turned over to the Harris Co. District Attorney’s Office to decide on possible charges.

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