CALDWELL, Texas — Two days before a Caldwell man ended up unconscious in a hospital, Chester Jackson Jr.’s mother pleaded with law enforcement to get help for her son.
The new video from a Burleson County sheriff’s deputy’s body camera is part of more than an hour’s worth of video first obtained by KAGS that sheds new light on Jackson’s time in custody before he was taken to an Austin hospital where he’s been in intensive care for more than a month.
Jackson’s family has not been told what caused Jackson’s injuries. But, this new video provides a clearer timeline of what happened during Jackson’s incarceration and his interactions with law enforcement.
The new video was given to KAGS by a law firm representing Burleson County.
APRIL 19: Arrested for Public Intoxication
In the body camera video obtained by KAGS, a Burleson County sheriff’s deputy tells Jackson’s parents he came to the house after a 911 call. Jackson’s father admits to the deputy that his son, Chester, hit him, but does not want him to get in trouble because of his mental health.
Jackson’s mother asks the deputy to take her son to the hospital instead of jail. She tells the deputy that Jackson has “been in a rage” and is mentally unstable. Jackson’s mother repeatedly tells her son that she wants him to get the help he needs.
The deputy approaches Jackson, who is seen seated in a patrol car. The deputy asks Jackson if he wants to go to a state mental health hospital. Jackson responds "what?" waits a moment and repeats "what?"
The deputy returns to Jackson's parents, identifies himself as a certified drug recognition expert, and says that Jackson's failure to register the deputy’s question is a sign that he is on PCP and should be taken to jail.
The deputy drives Jackson to the Burleson County jail where he is booked. In additional body camera video released to KAGS, Jackson is heard incoherently talking, but is physically cooperative with law enforcement during the book-in process.
APRIL 20: ‘You fell.’ Jackson’s jail altercation
The day after Chester Jackson, Jr.’s arrest for public intoxication, Jackson’s behavior changed. In video from a law enforcement body camera, Jackson is combative with a jail official and a deputy. At one point, Jackson looks directly into a body camera and pointedly asks, “Can I please get out of here?” Moments later, Jackson is seen getting physically combative, raising his voice saying, “I’m not crazy.” A deputy is heard responding, “We’re not saying you’re crazy,” before moving Jackson into a jail cell.
Later that night, deputies and four Caldwell police officers moved Jackson to a different cell. The move – and what happened after – was recorded on a Texas Department of Public Safety official’s body camera.
After getting into the new cell, a Caldwell police officer is seen letting go of Jackson’s arm. Jackson falls to the floor. While Jackson is on the floor yelling up to the officers, another Caldwell police officer comes from around the corner of the jail cell, goes to Jackson, picks him up, then shoves Jackson to the side. Jackson falls, hits the metal bed frame, then hits his head on the metal toilet.
‘You fell,’ the Caldwell Police officer is heard saying to Jackson. Jackson stays on the ground.
In the weeks since this happened, Caldwell Police Chief Charles Barnes wrote in a statement, “I have also notified the Texas Rangers who are conducting a criminal investigation into this matter. I and the Caldwell Police department take these allegations and complaints very seriously and will conduct a thorough and complete investigation into the matter.”
An unnamed Caldwell Police officer was placed on administrative leave on Tuesday, May 21 as a result of an investigation into the Chester Jackson case.
An anonymous law enforcement source with knowledge of the video told KAGS the officer who threw Jackson to the ground is the officer who was placed on administrative leave.
Police officers are typically placed on leave during internal affairs investigations and this does not necessarily imply guilt.
APRIL 21: Jackson transferred out of jail, somehow ends up in ICU
On Sunday, April 21, video shows a Burleson County Deputy taking Chester Jackson, Jr. to a mental health hospital in Austin.
As Jackson exits the jail, deputies coax him to stand up in his cell to leave. Jackson tries to get up from his bed, falls to another corner of the cell, and begins to incoherently mumble.
Jackson sits on the floor for a while and struggles to his feet, using the wall as support. As he walks from his cell to the jail's front door, Jackson seemingly shuffles and cannot maintain his balance.
It is unclear what caused his change in mental state.
Arriving at Cross Creek Hospital in Austin, a deputy's body camera video shows Jackson walking on his own into the hospital. He screams "I'm not in custody. I don't want to be here. Let me go."
Moments later, Jackson’s mood is noticeably different. Jackson is seen in the video exchanging cordial remarks with staff, shaking hands, and has his handcuffs removed.
Hours later, Jackson’s condition deteriorated. Paramedics took Jackson from Cross Creek Hospital, which specializes in mental health care, to St. David Medical Center. Jackson was admitted and placed on life support, according to his attorney.
KAGS has reached out to Austin EMS for more on the emergency call and have not yet heard back.
As for Jackson, his condition is improving, his attorney said. He’s stable and conscious, but cannot yet speak.
Meantime, the Burleson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Jackson’s time in the county’s custody leading up to his stay in the ICU.
"The Burleson County Sheriff's Office is dedicated to doing what is right, legal, and ethical," said Sheriff Thomas Norsworthy in a statement last Friday night. "The Burleson County Sheriff's Office is committed to conducting a full and complete investigation into the actions and circumstances that have resulted in this current condition of Mr. Jackson, and to keeping Mr. Jackson's family informed."
Jackson's family and his attorneys held a press conference on Monday, May 20, saying the Sheriff's Department and the County had not been helpful in their search for information.
The Burleson County Sheriff’s Office previously denied any wrongdoing related to Jackson’s case.