Willacy County paying family $1 million in beating death lawsuit

dfwnewsa | December 26, 2023 | 0 | East Texas News , South Texas News

Willacy County paying family  million in beating death lawsuit
John Ray Zamora of Willacy County seen holding a baby in this undated photo. (Courtesy Photo)
Sponsored

RAYMONDVILLE — Willacy County officials are paying a 33-year-old man’s family a $1 million settlement nearly two years after attorneys charged deputies beat him to death in the county jail.

The settlement comes after John Ray Zamora’s family filed a federal lawsuit charging deputies “savagely” beat him while handcuffed, denying him medical help.

On Tuesday, Israel Perez, an attorney representing Zamora’s four minor daughters, said the lawsuit aimed to “address the systemic issues” within the Willacy County Sheriff’s Office.

“We hope this motivates the county to enact needed changes,” he stated in a news release.

Zamora was killed “after being savagely beaten, pepper sprayed and tased while in handcuffs,” Perez stated. “After he was taken to the county jail, deputies stripped Mr. Zamora of his clothes and continued to beat him. Witnesses state the deputies were laughing while pepper spraying Mr. Zamora.”

The lawsuit names defendants including Willacy County, the sheriff’s office, Sheriff Joe Salazar, the city of Lyford and the Lyford Police Department.

Zamora’s family continues to pursue its case against Lyford, Perez’s office said.

In response to requests for comment regarding the settlement, Willacy County District Attorney Annette Hinojosa referred questions to County Judge Aurelio Guerra, who did not respond to messages requesting comment.

John Ray Zamora of Willacy County is seen in this undated photo. (Courtesy Photo)

Attorney Ricardo Navarro, who represented the county in the case, declined comment, while Salazar did not respond to messages requesting comment.

In the March 2022 lawsuit, the family argues three Willacy County sheriff’s deputies and a Lyford police officer beat Zamora, leaving him with injuries that led to his death in the county jail.

In the lawsuit, originally filed in the 197th state District Court before being moved to federal court, Blanca Gomez, on behalf of her family, charged the officer and deputies used “unjustified and excessive force” leading Zamora to die on Feb. 11, 2022, in jail after officials denied his requests for medical help.

Sponsored

In her lawsuit, Gomez stated a Lyford police officer arrived at Yvonne Zamora’s home, where he believed Zamora was intoxicated.

“The Lyford Police Department officer, Willacy County Sheriff’s Department deputies and all other employees and agents of defendants gained entry to Ms. Zamora’s property without authorization and without (probable) cause,” the lawsuit stated, referring to Zamora’s mother’s home.

“The officer began to confront Mr. Zamora on the basis of public intoxication at Ms. Zamora’s house,” the lawsuit stated, adding the deputies were responding to the officer’s call for back-up.

“The three deputies began to subdue Mr. Zamora violently,” it stated. “The Lyford Police Department officer assisted the deputies. Mr. Zamora called out to his mother for help as the police violently and painfully beat and restrained him. Ms. Zamora came to assist …. Ms. Zamora attempted to save her son’s life. However, she was arrested for interfering with the Lyford Police Department officer and Willacy County sheriff’s deputies.”

On Tuesday, Perez’s office said the city of Lyford’s adjuster incorrectly claimed Zamora, who was unarmed, had a pocket knife.

In this undated photo, a child holds a banner that reads “Help us get justice for our uncle John-Ray” in support of John Ray Zamora of Willacy County. (Courtesy Photo)

The lawsuit charged Zamora requested medical help.

“At the time of the incident in question, John Ray Zamora requested medical attention,” the lawsuit stated. “Further, Mr. Zamora began showing signs of serious injury and/or illness. Thus, the Lyford Police Department officer, Willacy County Sheriff’s Department deputies and all other employees and agents of defendants knew Mr. Zamora’s physical health and welfare were at serious risk.”

See also  Harlingen’s Black community celebrates culture in observation of Black History Month

“Understanding that his injuries from the police confrontation were life threatening, Mr. Zamora requested medical assistance,” the lawsuit stated, adding, “Willacy County denied medical assistance.”

After Zamora was found “unresponsive,” he was taken to Valley Baptist Medical Center, where he died, the lawsuit stated.

The post Willacy County paying family $1 million in beating death lawsuit appeared first on MyRGV.com.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

Recent Comments