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The family of a Texas man who passed away following a confrontation with jail staff is seeking a federal investigation

The family of Anthony Jr. (Via Amelia Grint/Shutterstock)

The family of a Texas man who passed away after a confrontation with jail staff, including one who pressed his knee into the man’s back, is calling for a federal investigation into the jail’s practices.

Anthony Johnson Jr., 31, a former Marine, died on April 21 following the altercation, which authorities said began when Johnson resisted jailers during a search for banned items. Last week, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner ruled his death a homicide caused by asphyxia, or suffocation.

Sheriff Bill Waybourn stated that after struggling with jail personnel for two to three minutes, Johnson was subdued and restrained on the floor. Jail employee Rafael Moreno allegedly applied pressure with his knee on Johnson’s back for about 90 seconds while he was already handcuffed. Waybourn also noted that Johnson was pepper-sprayed during the incident.

During a press conference in Fort Worth, the family’s lawyer, Daryl Washington, emphasized that Johnson’s death could have been avoided. He expressed the family’s profound grief, stating, “Parents should never have to bury their children.”

Daryl Washington (Via Amelia Grint/Shutterstock)

Waybourn acknowledged that Moreno should not have used his knee after Johnson was restrained. Initially, both Moreno and Lt. Joel Garcia, the supervisor on duty, were dismissed by Waybourn, but they were reinstated and placed on paid administrative leave shortly after because their firings did not follow proper procedures, according to the sheriff’s office.

Anthony Johnson Sr., the deceased’s father, criticized the jail staff at the press conference, describing them as incompetent, untrained, and lacking in compassion.

Anthony Johnson Jr. had been arrested two days before his death for allegedly threatening a vehicle driver with a knife. His family informed the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he was experiencing a mental health crisis at the time.

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