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Family pushes for answers after Harris County Jail inmate was reportedly injured while in custody

A man is in a coma after being injured while in custody at the jail. His family says they were told he fell off a bunk bed & then later tried to hit a jailer.

HOUSTON — A 48-year-old man is in a coma after he was reportedly injured while in custody at the Harris County Jail

His family said they were told he fell off the top bunk of a bed and later tried to hit a jailer, but his family doesn’t believe his injuries match that story. Now, they're pushing for evidence and any video evidence showing what really happened.

48-year-old Adael Gonzalez Garcia walked into the Harris County Jail on an outstanding misdemeanor warrant out of Walker County the day before Thanksgiving. Now, he's lying in a hospital bed in a coma. 

His common-law wife said the jail never called her to let him know he had been hurt. In Spanish, she told us the hospital called her 4 days after he was hospitalized to ask for consent to intubate him. She said she was shocked and thought that an inmate had hurt him.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office said Gonzalez fell off the top bunk of a bed on November 24 and was taken to the jail's clinic for treatment. On November 25, Gonzalez was released from the clinic and HCSO said he hit his head on the ground again after a struggle.

"They were escorting him to another cell block he got combative and he struck another officer," said family member Marisol Tobar.

Gonzalez's family and community activists aren't buying that story.

"You shouldn’t be a death penalty for being arrested on a minor offense," said Augustin Pinedo with LULAC. 

Gonzalez is still in the hospital and is no longer in custody. His original charges from Walker County were dismissed and he isn't facing any other charges.

"He is not charged, so this makes me think he didn’t do anything," said Tobar. 

His wife said doctors told her his injuries are not from falling off a bed, but instead from being hit. The family and his attorney are demanding justice for his case.

"What we would like of course is the truth and there is nothing more truthful than the video," said attorney Randall L. Kallineh. 

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said its Internal Affairs Division is investigating this case, which is standard procedure for all use-of-force incidents.

Gonzalez does not speak English. He works in construction and is from Cuba. His family believes the language barrier might have played a factor in his case.

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