Feds Investigate Harris County Jail Again

Earlier today, investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice debriefed the command staff at the Harris County Jail, ending the second week-long investigation of the jail this summer.

A Sheriff's Department spokesman, Deputy David Crain, says the department isn't commenting about what's going on. Crain says that Justice Department investigators have asked that all questions be directed to their office. Unfortunately, they aren't talking either, but a spokeswoman did say that the investigation is examining the constitutional rights of inmates.

"It's not routine, in the sense that this is part of an ongoing investigation," says Jaime Hais, a Justice Department spokeswoman. "I can't really comment beyond that."

Investigators were at the jail about a month ago for the first time, and two deputies were fired for lying about their role in an inmate's December 2007 death. A deputy had choked an inmate, who was injured and later died. The deputy and his supervisor later filed a false report.

"They claim they're being made scapegoats," says Chief Deputy Mike Smith, "and we're like, 'We still think this went down pretty much like you said it did, but why did you lie?' They embellish sometimes, and when they do and they get caught they get in trouble."

-- Paul Knight

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