Juvenile Inmate Allegedly Injured by Ector County Sheriff's Deputies, Officials Investigating Incident

Juvenile Inmate Allegedly Injured by Ector County Sheriff's Deputies, Officials Investigating Incident

By: Julia Deng
NewsWest 9

ECTOR COUNTY - Officials are investigating a complaint involving an Ector County Youth Center inmate allegedly injured by sheriff's deputies.

Josue Garcia, 15, was taken to the hospital Thursday night with injuries on the right side of his face following a riot that required deputy intervention, Sheriff Mark Donaldson said.

The brawl was too much for Youth Center officials to handle alone, he told NewsWest 9, and four sheriff's deputies were summoned to help. NewsWest 9 requested the incident report and any related surveillance footage; Ector County Youth Center officials have not responded yet.

"We don't know exactly what happened out there, but it must have been bad," said Donaldson. "This is the first time I've heard of them calling us out there to help them."

Garcia was in his cell when deputies arrived. Donaldson said he had damaged the lock, leading them to "open the door using a screw driver."

"They went in with a taser and he initially complied with what they told him to do," he said. "And then the officer put the taser back in his holster and what's reported is the youth turned and kind of came towards him, so they took him down."

He said Garcia then tried biting an officer, who responded by hitting him.

However, Garcia's mother said he told her he was attacked while fully cooperating.

"I lost it when I saw his face," said Gardenia Garcia. "He said, 'Mom... I was already on the floor. I was not resisting. I told them, I'm not resisting, I'm not resisting!' And he said that's when [the sheriff's deputy] started punching him in the face."

She said he was hit at least four times and is currently sporting a black eye, "severe" bruising and facial swelling. Officials who took him to the hospital reportedly requested CT scans, which came back normal.

"I'm taking him to his primary [care physician] for a follow-up because I don't trust [that diagnosis]," said Garcia. "I want justice for my son. I want that officer, for what he did to him, to lose his badge."

The teenager's uncle filed a complaint with the Sheriff's Office, Donaldson confirmed.

"We're looking at the surveillance footage and looking into all the reports to see if our guys did anything wrong," the sheriff said. "Up to this point, not anything I've seen would lead me to believe [sheriff's deputies involved in the incident did anything wrong]. But we're going to do the investigation."