Texas: Interview with Sister of Jesse Juarez, Intellectually-Disabled Man Killed by Lockhart Sheriffs

By Noah Long

Five years ago in Lockhart, Texas, Caldwell County sheriffs murdered Jesse Juarez, known to friends as “Chuy,” an intellectually-disabled man experiencing a mental health crisis. The ruling-class media reported that the police were called on Juarez for attempted burglary, and Caldwell County District Attorney, Fred Weber, alleged in these media reports that Juarez smashed windows at people’s homes and made threats before the police confronted and killed him.

Jesse Juarez

The narrative of the DA contrasts with the statement of Josie Searcy, Jesse’s sister, who told Tribune that Jesse would often knock on the doors and windows of his neighbors when he needed assistance and that he had the mind of a 7-year-old. Neighbors who spoke to Tribune confirmed this as well.

Video was captured just moments before deputy Mike Taylor fired at Jesse three times who then fell to the ground and was pronounced dead when paramedics arrived. The police claimed Jesse was “armed” with a gardening tool.

An autopsy report revealed that Jesse’s prescribed medicine Zyprexa, which treats schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, was absent from his system during the time of the killing. The report lends evidence to the fact that Jesse was suffering from a mental health crisis, and needed special help to address his situation.

Many in the community expressed shock that the Sheriffs employed lethal force, and questioned why a less lethal form of subduing a dangerous individual was not implemented.

The Sheriff’s office claimed that they did not have stun guns at their disposal for this situation, which according to them necessitated the use of a deadly weapon.

Lockhart does not fall within the jurisdiction of Caldwell County, yet the Sheriff’s office claims that it was called upon by Lockhart authorities to handle a situation that required outside expertise.

Ultimately, a grand jury did not bring charges against Taylor. However, the memory of Jesse’s death at the hands of law enforcement has not been forgotten by his sister who still fights for justice for Jesse, demanding that authorities revisit the case and the officers face charges.

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