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Civil trial for Chester Jackson, Jr. began with testimony Tuesday

Jackson’s attorney says former Caldwell police officer Robert Baucom was on the stand for four hours
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 10:53 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Texas (KBTX) - The civil trial for Chester Jackson, Jr. began in a federal courtroom in Austin Tuesday.

Jackson’s family alleges he was thrown in his cell by law enforcement officers causing a head injury while he was in custody at the Burleson County Jail. The incident occurred in April 2019 after Jackson was arrested at his Somerville home for a public intoxication charge.

Bodycam footage released of the incident appears to show Jackson hitting his head against a toilet when officers were moving him from one cell to another. The man in the cell handling Jackson when it happened is one of the defendants and former Caldwell police officer Robert Baucom. He took the stand to testify Tuesday.

“We kind of went over some preliminary things and his version of the facts, watched a few videos and so forth, and had him discuss the interaction with Chester Jackson along the way,” Jackson’s attorney U.A. Lewis said.

Lewis says Baucom was on the stand for four hours Tuesday. According to Lewis, Baucom testified about his interaction with Jackson in the cell, but the jury has yet to see the video. She says that will happen when Baucom retakes the stand Wednesday.

“They’ve listened to his version of the facts, and they’ll be able to compare his version of the facts to the actual video,” Lewis said. “His version of the facts is that Chester fell, as we all know.”

Lewis says she expects there to be five key witnesses throughout the course of the trial. The defense and the prosecution get five hours of testimony and questioning with each witness who’s called to the stand, Lewis says.

The day after the incident in the jail, Jackson was taken to a psychiatric hospital in Austin where he would go into cardiac arrest and stop breathing. He remains in a long-term care facility where he is recovering.

“He just continues to just slowly improve,” Lewis said. “He can respond to your questions in his way, not verbally, but he is still bound to the bed. He’s not able to walk. We’re just continuing to hope that he continues to progress and not regress.”

Lewis says they’re looking for punitive damages for pain and suffering from Jackson’s injuries.

“Once the jury has to answer the question whether Chester was pushed or tossed or if he fell on his own, I think that they should award accordingly as far as the punitive damages are concerned,” Lewis said.

We reached out to Baucom’s attorneys, but they said the defense has no comment for the media while the trial is ongoing.

Proceedings will begin again Wednesday around 9 a.m.

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