Tarrant County settles lawsuit of man allegedly beaten by jailers, left in cell, for $200K

Tarrant County commissioners voted Tuesday to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who was allegedly beaten by three jailers for the amount of $200,000.

Corey Rodrigues sustained various injuries from the July 2020 beating, including bleeding in his lungs, a collapsed lung, multiple rib fractures and a broken cheek bone that required surgery. In his federal lawsuit against the jailers and the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office, he requested between $400,000 and $4 million in damages.

Fort Worth resident Julie Griffin told the commissioners that Rodrigues’ case highlights the need for better oversight of the Tarrant County Jail.

“It’s unfortunate the tunnel vision that is the essence of a lawsuit,” Griffin said. “Not only is there no apology to Mr. Rodrigues, there is no statement from jail leadership that ‘we will do better,’ because that would acknowledge that something was terribly wrong.”

According to Rodrigues’ lawsuit, officers Reginald Lowe, Dakota Coston and Lewis Velasquez entered his cell in the early morning hours of July 19, 2020. The lawsuit alleges that Lowe physically assaulted him while the other two officers made sure Rodrigues couldn’t escape.

An affidavit for the officers’ arrests says Rodrigues threw a piece of clothing at them as they swung open the cell door.

Rodrigues was hit, kicked and thrown about, according to the lawsuit. Even though he was in great pain after the beating, Rodrigues did not receive medical care for two days.

Lowe was was charged with aggravated assault causing bodily injury and official oppression, according to court records. Coston and Velasquez were charged with official oppression.

According to court records, the charges against all three men were dismissed due to “prosecutorial discretion” — Lowe on June 26, 2023, and Coston and Velasquez on July 10.

Rodrigues’ attorney, Ernest Reynolds, told the Star-Telegram in November that everyone was shocked that the case was dismissed.

“My client was ready to come and testify,” Reynolds said.

Coston and Velasquez were removed from the lawsuit Sept. 26, leaving Lowe and the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office as defendants.

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