Man Found Hanging In HPD Jail Identified

The man found dead in a Houston Police Department jail yesterday afternoon has been identified as 38-year-old Hung Do, according to an HFD press release.

According to Harris County court records, Do was arrested early Wednesday morning and charged with possession of a controlled substance. At around 1:30 p.m. the next day, he was found dead in his fifth-floor cell at HPD's Central station on Riesner Street, just off Washington near I-45. HPD said Do had apparently hung himself with his own clothing. His death is currently being investigated by HPD Homicide and Internal Affairs divisions and the Harris County District Attorney's office, the press release said.

In a phone interview, HPD spokesperson Kese Smith said Do was brought to Central jail following his arrest, where he passed physical and mental health screening before being booked. He said employees from the City Department of Health conduct that test, and he did not know specifically what the test entails.

The news of Do's death comes eleven days after Sandra Bland was found hanging in her jail cell in Waller County, a case that has garnered national media attention and put a spotlight on issues like prisoner suicide and police brutality. Recent developments in Bland's story show her death was likely a suicide, but questions remain about whether the jail did everything it should have to keep her alive while in custody, and whether she should have even been arrested in the first place. 

While officials involved in the Sandra Bland investigation have have said they plan on being as transparent as possible throughout the course of the investigation—a pretty constant stream of press conferences and official documents they've release seems to back up that claim— Smith said it is unlikely HPD will similarly update the public of progress in its investigation into Do's death, "unless something in the investigation warrants it."

Smith also said he could not provide details of Do's arrest because it is part of the ongoing investigation into Do's death. And he said he couldn't tell us anything about what was in Do's offense report, including what controlled substance Do had in his possession and how much—information that could be important, considering detoxing inmates are at a heightened risk of suicide. 

At this point, the circumstances surrounding Do's arrest and death mostly remain a mystery. 
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Leif Reigstad