Federal Judge Dismisses Civil Lawsuit in Dallas Police Custody Death of Diamond Ross

Dallas, Texas – A federal judge has dismissed a civil lawsuit filed by the family of Diamond Ross, more than five years after her death from an overdose while in Dallas police custody. Ross’ family had sought answers and disciplinary action regarding the 34-year-old’s death in 2018. Video footage released by the police in 2019 showed Ross repeatedly asking for water and help as she was taken to jail. The lawsuit, filed in 2020, sought damages and policy changes from those involved, including two police officers, the Dallas Police Department, Dallas Fire-Rescue, and the Dallas marshal’s office.

According to federal court documents, U.S. District Judge Ada Brown dismissed the case on December 4. The police department and the city of Dallas declined to comment, citing pending litigation. Attorney Justin Moore, representing Ross’ family, expressed disappointment with the dismissal, asserting that the claims in the lawsuit were valid.

Ross’ death sparked protests, with Mayor Eric Johnson in 2019 deeming the police actions “unacceptable.” In 2021, a coffin with “Diamond Ross” inscribed on it was found on the front lawn of Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot’s home, prompting an investigation. A grand jury ultimately declined to indict the two officers involved in Ross’ death on criminal charges.

The internal investigation conducted by the Dallas police revealed that the two officers had engaged in improper conduct during the arrest and failed to provide necessary medical treatment. One officer received a written reprimand, while the other resigned. The civil lawsuit filed by Ross’ family sought acknowledgement of her rights violations, along with damages and policy changes related to mental health and substance abuse intervention.

Over time, the court dismissed various claims in the lawsuit, including allegations of negligence, violations of Ross’ constitutional right to medical care, and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The case was ultimately dismissed in December, with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled. Ross’ family may seek an appeal.

The recent dismissal of the lawsuit raises concerns about the impartiality of investigations into cases of police brutality. Justin Moore believes that victims should have every opportunity for legal recourse. Ross’ tragic death once again highlights the need for greater respect and understanding of mental health episodes by officers responding to such incidents.

Diamond Ross was taken into custody in August 2018 after an altercation with her boyfriend. Police records reveal that it took multiple officers to subdue her. Dallas Fire-Rescue officials cleared her for jail, but she was found unresponsive upon arrival at the detention center, and she passed away the following day. The medical examiner’s office determined that Ross died from an accidental overdose of the illegal psychedelic drug PCP.

Despite the dismissal of the lawsuit, the circumstances surrounding Diamond Ross’ death continue to raise important questions about accountability and treatment of individuals in police custody.