The Texas Rangers are investigating an incident involving the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office after the family of a man who died last month claimed deputies caused his injuries, according to a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman.
DPS spokesman Lt. Christopher Olivarez said the Rangers are investigating, in its “entirety,” the incident involving Jorge Gonzalez and the sheriff’s office.
“Now what that incident entails, I don’t have the details on that,” Olivarez said. “Once the investigation is complete, it will be presented to the grand jury.”
Gonzalez, 23, was arrested on April 12, booked at 3:07 a.m. and charged with violation of emergency management plan, resisting arrest and public intoxication, according to jail records.
According to Gonzalez’s obituary, the Monte Alto native died on July 15 and was buried at Palm Valley Memorial Gardens in Pharr — three months after his encounter with deputies.
Ten days after his death, Gonzalez’s family organized a GoFundMe campaign, in addition to a viral Twitter thread, where they allege deputies assaulted Gonzalez and failed to give him proper medical attention.
On April 12, Gonzalez was asleep at a friend’s home, according to the family, where deputies showed up to enforce the county’s then emergency shelter-in-place order.
The family claims as a result of his encounter with the deputies, Gonzalez suffered a broken neck and compressed spine. They allege one witness, who they didn’t identify, said the deputies were on top of Gonzalez during his arrest.
In his mugshot, Gonzalez’s head appears to be held up by someone outside the frame of the photo.
The family said they believe Gonzalez spent more than 26 hours in the county’s jail without any medical attention. They also claim when Gonzalez was finally transferred to the hospital, he was not transported in an ambulance but in a deputy’s vehicle.
Gonzalez was hospitalized in the intensive care unit for more than a month after his arrest and went through various surgeries, his family said on the GoFundMe page.
The family revealed Gonzalez was sent home from the hospital because he did not have insurance.
“We aren’t nurses,” Gonzalez’s sister Katia wrote on the GoFundMe page. “We were so scared that one mistake could take him from us.”
According to his family, they struggled for more than three months to care for him, and that Gonzalez had to return to the emergency room three times after being released from the hospital due to complications.
“The last time Jorge ended up at the ER was his last,” Katia wrote. “He was only 23 years old.”
In a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Monitor, the arresting deputy stated in their report that Gonzalez was highly intoxicated and resisted arrest, until they “finally handcuffed and transported” him.
According to the affidavit, a deputy originally responded to a call in reference to an assault in Elsa, but “while finishing up [their] investigation” he noticed a man asleep on his back.
“Several attempts were made to wake up male went unsuccessful,” the complaint read. “Male finally woke and appeared to be highly intoxicated.”
Gonzalez told the deputies he was drinking with his friends, but was unable to find them, according to the probable cause.
The complaint also mentions Gonzalez was walking around the mobile home park, unaware where he was going.
However, the probable cause does not distinguish the time from when Gonzalez was asleep to when he allegedly was walking around the park.
Deputies advised Gonzalez he was being placed under arrest for violating the emergency management plan, according to the complaint. He was also informed he was going to be charged with public intoxication.
The final sentence of seven in the probable cause read, “Male resisted arrest and was finally handcuffed and transported.”
In the complaint, deputies do not explain how Gonzalez allegedly resisted, nor does it include any descriptive details such as the time the events transpired.
The only time available in reference to the incident is from the sheriff’s office booking report from that weekend, which stated Gonzalez was confined at 3:07 a.m.
Furthermore, according to jail records, Gonzalez was released the following day on April 13.
When reached for comment about the circumstances surrounding Gonzalez’s mugshot after his April arrest, sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Francisco Medrano declined to comment due to the ongoing investigation.
The GoFundMe for Gonzalez and his family raised more than $20,000 as of Friday. According to the page, the family is asking for help through monetary donations to cover medical bills, rent, and other financial support.
“We want answers. We need support,” Katia wrote on the GoFundMe page. “We demand justice.”