Jury awards $11 million to family of 23-year-old man who died in custody

On September 30, 2010, 23-year-old Jamail Amron had trouble breathing after ingesting cocaine.

“His crime was that he called 911,” said attorney Bradford Gilde. And Amron’s sentence was death.

“Jamail called for help. He was looking for help and instead of help he got a boot in the face,” Gilde said.

For three weeks a jury heard about what four Harris County Precinct 4 constable deputies did to Amron after he decided he didn’t want to get into an ambulance.

“One officer placed his boot on his stomach, another officer kicked him in the ribs,” said Gilde.

“When he was down on the ground and handcuffed,” his father Ali Amron added.

Then according to the lawsuit, deputy Kevin Vailes put his boot on Amron’s face covering his nose and mouth for two to five minutes.

“When that boot was placed on his stomach, Jamail Amron threw up what was in his stomach. And because another boot was placed on his nose and mouth, it had no exit,” Gilde said. “He basically suffocated on his own vomit.”

“You never think that your child is going to die,” Armon said.

As far as the jury is concerned the deputies used excessive deadly force.

Jurors also heard how the eight precinct constables who oversee deputies create their own policies with no oversight.

Gilde says Ron Hickman, who was the constable in 2010 when Amron was killed, had no policy about the use of feet as a form of excessive force.

“It was a clear communication by this jury that Harris County needs to change its policy,” Gilde said.

The jury awarded Amron’s family $11 million, but that’s little consolation for a man who lost his oldest son.

“The pain and anguish and sorrow never goes away,” Amron said.

The Harris County Attorney’s Office tells us, "Our office is reviewing various legal options with our client representatives.”

The current Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said, “We at the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office continue to work through this litigation with our county attorney.

Deputy Kevin Vailes, who still works for Precinct 4, didn’t respond to our request for a comment.