The other cases were also closed despite troubling autopsy results.
The Ranger who watched Lorenzo Juarez’s death outside of Austin learned from pathologists that he had petechial hemorrhages — tiny pinpricks in the eyes that also indicate strangulation — while under arrest in 2018. Mr Juarez, 47, was on meth and had been swinging a metal pipe by the side of a road when the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene. A deputy charged at Mr. Juarez with a forearm against the base of his neck, and others pressed him as he received a dose of Versed, a sedative from paramedics.
But after the autopsy report, the ranger, Brent Barina, documented no attempt to interview the officers again or otherwise seek an explanation for why capillaries in Mr. Juarez’s eyes might burst. The coroner determined that the death was an accident caused by methamphetamine, but noted a “component of suffocation”.
The Ranger investigating the death of 40-year-old Wesley Manning filed a detailed account of that case, which took place in 2015 on Rattlesnake Point Road in Aransas County, near Corpus Christi.
In a 59-page report, based on 12 interviews and multiple videos, he told how sheriffs and police officers who believed Mr. Manning was preventing his girlfriend from getting medical care, shocked him twice with a stun gun, doused him with pepper spray, threw him him to the floor, stick a club to his neck, handcuff him, push a knee into his back, clamp fingers in the pressure points behind his jaw, punch him and hold his legs before stopping breathing.
The Ranger, Antonio DeLuna, also noted that the coroner ruled the death a homicide caused by “sudden cardiac death following forced procedures.” But he didn’t add any extra detail from the forensics: that a piece of cartilage around his voice box was broken, another warning sign that death investigators are trained to look for.
Despite the murder sentence and the otherwise thorough investigation, the outcome was the same as in the other cases. The Ranger presented himself before a grand jury, who issued no charges.
A lack of specialists
Despite its large population and land area, Texas employs approximately 165 Rangers statewide — the Houston Police Department has 5,300 sworn officers in comparison — and most Rangers work as generalists, investigating major crimes and public corruption cases and deaths in custody, depending on the state. from the day.