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Sammy Zapata Died At Amarillo Jail

Sammy Zapata Died At Amarillo Jail

Inmate Sammy Zapata Died Following Medical Emergency At Texas Department of Criminal Justice Bill Clements Unit In Amarillo

POTTER COUNTY, TEXAS (December 7, 2023) - A 67-year-old inmate identified as Sammy Zapata has tragically died following a medical emergency at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Bill Clements Unit in Amarillo. 

Potter County officials are saying that the incident began on December 3. Correctional officers noticed that Sammy Zapata was unresponsive in his cell.

He was taken to the jail infirmary in order to receive care. Sadly, Sammy Zapata was later pronounced dead by medical staff.

A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.

Liability For Amarillo Inmate Deaths

Thousands of people die in jails and prisons across the United States each year. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, “Nationwide, there were 1,120 deaths reported, or a rate of 154 deaths per 100,000 people in jail, the highest levels since BJS’ first report on this topic in 2000. The jail population has grown since 2000, of course, but jail deaths have grown more.” There are many common causes of inmate deaths.

  • Homicide
  • Suicide
  • Cancer
  • Drug overdoses
  • Heart attacks

All jails are legally obligated to provide inmates with adequate medical care. This includes care for chronic and acute medical conditions. When an inmate has a serious medical condition, they will typically need to see a doctor and be closely monitored. When a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. There are a number of reasons that an inmate may become unresponsive in their cell.

  • An inmate may have been going through a drug overdose.
  • An inmate may have endured some type of physical trauma such as a brain injury.
  • An inmate may have been given the incorrect dosage of some medication.
  • An inmate may have undergone a heart attack.
  • An inmate maybe in respiratory distress.

It is never a good sign when an inmate is found unresponsive in their cell. This often indicates that the inmate was not being properly cared for or monitored. Jails are supposed to perform regular welfare checks on the inmates that they are charged with caring for. The family of any person that died in custody may have legal recourse through a civil claim. It is important that evidence is properly preserved after any inmate death.

Investigating Amarillo Inmate Deaths

We at Scott H. Palmer, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Sammy Zapata. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. There needs to be some accountability for what has taken place for the sake of this man’s family.

Do you need more information about a Potter County inmate death? Our team of civil rights attorneys are here for you. We care deeply that inmates and their families are aware of their rights. In fact, we’ve spent decades fighting on behalf of people who have been harmed at the hands of law enforcement. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any in-custody death we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 214-987-4100.