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Jail beating victim feels 'helpless' after charges against Tarrant County jailers were dismissed

 A photo of three red brick buildings in downtown Fort Worth. The one in the middle is a tall, double tower with a sign that says "Tarrant County Correction Center."
Miranda Suarez
Cory Rodrigues was in custody at the Tarrant County Corrections Center, pictured here, when a jailer beat him so severely he had to be hospitalized, according to law enforcement.

A former Tarrant County jail inmate told KERA he’s “flabbergasted” by local prosecutors’ decision to throw out the cases against the three former jailers accused in his beating behind bars.

On July 19, 2020, Tarrant County jailer Reginald Lowe went to Cory Rodrigues’ cell, in a section of the jail for inmates with mental illnesses. Lowe slammed Rodrigues into a concrete bunk and punched him repeatedly, leaving him with a broken cheekbone, broken ribs and a collapsed lung, according to Lowe’s arrest warrant.

Lowe was charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury. Two other jailers at the scene, Dakota Coston and Lewis Velasquez, were charged with official oppression.

Tarrant County prosecutors successfully moved to dismiss all three cases this summer. Rodrigues didn’t see the dismissals coming, he said.

“It made me feel like I was helpless, and I had nothing, and that whatever I went through didn't mean anything,” he said.

Court records do not indicate why prosecutors decided to dismiss the cases. Earlier this month, when asked for prosecutors’ reasoning, DA’s office spokesperson Anna Tinsley Williams offered a statement: "After a review of the evidence and discussions with Mr. Rodrigues, who currently lives in California, it was determined that the cases be dismissed.”

Williams did not answer further questions.

Rodrigues said he did talk to Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office employees over the phone, who told him they didn’t have a case because of Rodrigues’ own criminal history.

“Does that make it okay for them to do what they did to me, because I'm a past criminal?" Rodrigues said.

Rodrigues never asked them not to prosecute the cases and was willing to cooperate, he said.

KERA reached out to the DA's office again on Tuesday to request an interview about Rodrigues’ statements but got no response.

The dismissal of Lowe’s assault charge left defense attorney Bob Gill, who represented Rodrigues in his criminal case, “very surprised.” The beating was caught on tape.

“It made it pretty clear that there was an assault that occurred, and it was pretty clear who the perpetrators were," he said.

Gill has decades of legal experience in Tarrant County, previously serving as a prosecutor and a state criminal district court judge.

Assault charges do get dismissed sometimes, he said, but usually due to lack of proof.

“I don't see that being the case here," Gill said.

Bob Gill, a white man with a white mustache wearing a dark gray suit, holds up a document in a courtroom as he addresses a jury.
Amanda McCoy
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Defense attorney Bob Gill gives his closing argument during a trial on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, in Fort Worth.

Rodrigues plans to continue his lawsuit against the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office and the three former jailers. The lawsuit alleges that jailers left Rodrigues without medical care for two days after the beating. Once he finally went to the hospital, he needed surgery to repair his broken cheekbone.

Rodrigues now lives in California, to be closer to family. His sister, Ashley Watson, helps care for him, and she said Tarrant County prosecutors are “trying to sweep it all under the rug.”

Her brother still struggles with health problems from the beating, Watson said. His short-term memory has never been the same. His lungs still don’t work at full capacity. And then there’s the mental trauma.

“If he sees a cop car, he freaks out. He can't walk by cops without thinking that they're coming to get him," Watson said.

Still, Rodrigues was ready to help prosecutors in the cases against the former jailers.

“I would have been willing to go back to Texas if it meant going up against Lowe and the rest of the officers that had done this to me,” Rodrigues said.

Got a tip? Email Miranda Suarez at You can follow Miranda on Twitter @MirandaRSuarez.

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Miranda Suarez is KERA’s Tarrant County accountability reporter. Before coming to North Texas, she was the Lee Ester News Fellow at Wisconsin Public Radio, where she covered statewide news from the capital city of Madison. Miranda is originally from Massachusetts and started her public radio career at WBUR in Boston.