For Immediate Release:
Akrem Azzam, severely beaten at the downtown City of Houston jail, came out victorious in federal court Friday against Houston jailer Sheila Ross who looked on while another Houston jailer, Lasswon Shannon, repeatedly beat Akrem while handcuffed at the downtown City jail. Lasswon Shannon was arrested and pled guilty to assault.
While the 12-member federal jury verdict was for $105,000.00, costs and attorney’s fees will push the expected total to over $250,000,00. Azzam had given the defendants an offer to settle for much less, however, prior to trial the defendants offered no compensation to Mr. Azzam.
“This is a very important case as Jailer Ross was found liable, not for assaulting Mr. Azzam, but for failing to intervene,” said civil rights lawyer Randall Kallinen, “The trial and results send a strong message to jailers and police that encourage violence against citizens by standing by and doing nothing. Maybe if this would have happened earlier the Harding Street Murders would not have occurred.”
Co-counsel Civil Rights Attorney U.A. Lewis stated, “The jury should be very proud of their verdict. It demonstrated that This is America and we have constitutional rights here, civil rights and the jury upheld them for us all with their verdict.”