What happened to 30-year-old Chester “C.J.” Jackson on April 19th?
Jackson’s family has no idea what happened to him, and apparently neither does the Burleson County Sheriff’s Department. Well…at least that is the narrative they are providing everyone who is seeking answers, including his family and their attorney.
Jackson, who commonly goes by ‘C.J.” for those in the community who know him, is currently battling for his life in critical condition in the ICU at St. David Hospital in Austin, Texas.
We know the current condition that C.J. finds himself in at the moment, however, what we do not know are the details of why C.J. got transported from Burleson County to Austin and how he ended up in the current condition he is in. This entire ordeal remains a mystery, clouded by suspicion surrounding the Burleson County Sheriff’s Department, and their unwillingness to share critical information that can help shed light on what really happened to C.J. last month.
Burleson County is the neighboring county of Waller County, which is 60 miles west of where Sandra Bland was arrested and died within 3 days of her arrest back in 2015.
Back on Friday, April 19th, C.J.’s family states they were told by the Burleson County Sheriff’s Department that C.J. had been arrested by a Burleson County Sheriff officer for a Class C, low-level misdemeanor offense of public intoxication.
The next day after Jackson’s arrest, on Saturday, April 20th, C.J.’s father states he received a call from the Burleson County Justice of the Peace advising him that his son had been officially released from jail and that he should come pick him up. When CJ’s father told the Judge he was out of town and could not pick C.J. up himself, he promptly notified the Judge that C.J.’s mother could come pick him up from the jail instead.
This is where things get very disturbing.
When notified by C.J.’s father that C.J. needed to be picked up from jail, C.J.’s mother and girlfriend both hurried to go pick him up from the Burleson County jail. Upon arriving to the jail within an hour of receiving the phone call to come pick up C.J., the two ladies were met by the Burleson County Justice of the Peace, along with Burleson County Deputy Nathaniel L. Graves.
It was then that C.J.’s mother states that the two men claimed that C.J. had suddenly become a danger and could not be released, despite having served his time on the alleged public intoxication charge.
Burleson County officials opted to maintain custody of C.J., which prompted his mother to request a visit with her son to let him know they had arrived and make sure he was okay. According to his mother, her request was denied and so she left.
The next day, on Sunday, April 21st, C.J.s mother states that she called the Burleson County jail to check on C.J.’s status, but was given no update. They also told her that C.J. could not be found, which caused her to become extremely worried, as most parents would. She heard absolutely nothing all day Sunday, but on Monday, April 22nd, that is when C.J.’s mother began to panic, as she finally received news about C.J. and it was not good. According to his mother, she was told that C.J. was no longer in the Burleson County jail, but had been transported to Austin where he was on life support after needing to be resuscitated.
Can you imagine the heartache and disbelief this mother was experiencing at that moment?
After finding out that C.J. was at Cross Creek Hospital in Austin, the family rushed down to check on his condition. When they arrived at the hospital, they found C.J. connected to a life support machine and in a coma. Upon viewing his body, the family states they saw several mysterious puncture wounds that resembled Taser prong marks on various parts of his body.
When his mother spoke with Burleson County Sheriff Thomas Norsworthy, he stated to her that C.J. was released from jail the same way he entered the jail; in healthy physical condition.
Sheriff Norsworthy did, however, apparently inform her that C.J. was allegedly suffering from sort of mental crisis.
It was further communicated, according to the family, that one of Sheriff Norsworthy’s deputies, William C. Elkins, who began working at the Burleson County Sheriff’s department in November 2015 after being a reserve officer with Brazos County Constable Precinct 3 for one month, was the person who actually transported C.J. to Austin and released him to Cross Creek Hospital, where C.J. was allegedly in healthy physical condition.
According to their website, Cross Creek Hospital in Austin, TX, is a “behavioral health treatment center that provides inpatient treatment services for individuals who are struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues.”
So, if C.J. was dropped off in healthy physical condition at a mental health and substance abuse hospital in Austin nearly two hours away from the Burleson County jail, how did he end up in a coma on life support in ICU at an entirely different hospital shortly thereafter?
C.J.s family decided to retain legal counsel to deal with this horrific ordeal that is full of questionable actions and limited details and information surrounding the case.
“All these facts point to foul play by each person involved with the custody and care of C.J., which is evident by the withholding of information to his family,” said civil rights attorney U.A. Lewis, who is representing the family alongside attorney Shardae Parker.
We know that C.J. ended up at St. David Hospital after being transferred from Cross Creek Hospital, but we do not know is if C.J. was ever admitted into Cross Creek.
These things are unattainable at the moment, because C.J. is currently in ICU on life support and his family is not able to get any of his medical records according to the law.
“Since we have to gather information to file any legal action, we have to gather facts,” said Lewis. “We are seeking emergency guardianship so that his father and mother can gain basic information that is currently being shielded by HIPPA violation allegations.”
To date, there are no court records of C.J.’s official arrest, nor any court proceedings.
According to the family’s attorneys, Sheriff Thomas Norsworthy stated he had footage from his jail showing C.J. being released on Sunday, April 21st, in perfect physical condition, but has yet to make that footage available after numerous requests.
Lewis and Parker also state that they have requested records of the arrest, the charge, release documents, use of force reports and the jail surveillance footage depicting C.J. being physically fine when he was released from jail, but the Burleson County Sheriff’s Department has been stalling and has practically refused to provide any of the requested items to date.
“Withholding information at critical times like this goes on far more often than the public realizes, although they have a duty to release it,” said Parker.
Lewis states that they are looking for community support from everywhere.
“We cannot allow this to go on in 2019. Many of us in Texas have spent time in the “country” and have relatives who still live there,” said Lewis. “Sandra Bland, like Emmett Till, was from Chicago. Do you think Emmett Till was the first to be killed in that town? The others had nobody from the outside to stand up for them. Sandra Bland’s death got attention because those from the outside spoke up. The Burleson County Sheriff’s Department is cooperative in promising information, but has failed to actually produce information. We need people from the outside to stand up for C.J. and share his story so the whole world can see. They need spotlight protection. We can handle the rest once we are in court.”
Caldwell is a small town between Austin and Houston, but also not far from Waco and Dallas, and their voices don’t get heard like those in the larger cities so we need those in the larger cities to speak up and out for C.J. and others like him.
There was recently a major protest rally and press conference held in front of the Burleson County Jail, where C.J.’s parents, girlfriend, children, the public, Black Lives Matter Houston, and the lawyers for the family gathered to demand justice for the young man.
C.J.’s father is having a difficult time understanding how a simple class C misdemeanor arrest could have ended like this. He and his son had recently invested in a landscaping business and had just got the business up and running. C.J. was the one responsible for completing the jobs, and now his father doesn’t know how he going to be able to go on without the help of his son.
According to Lewis, C.J. is showing some signs of improvement, but he is certainly not out of the woods yet. The Forward Times reached out to the Burleson County Sheriff’s Department regarding the case, but has not received a response back from them to date. However, the Forward Times will continue to follow this case and join in with the family’s attorneys to request the critical information that can help shed light on what truly happened to C.J. last month.