Woman suing Sherman Police over sister's death speaks out - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Woman suing Sherman Police over sister's death speaks out

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SHERMAN, TX -- Several Sherman Police Officers are facing civil charges in connection with the death of detainee Lesa Surratt. The incident happened last fall after a traffic stop in Sherman. Linda Surratt, Lesa’s sister, filed the lawsuit on May 25, 2014. In the lawsuit, Surratt is claiming officers used excessive and deadly force after, as the suit claims, Lesa swallowed a small amount of cocaine.

Sunday would have been Lesa's 52nd birthday and her sister spoke with KTEN about how hard this year has been without her.

 “This necklace has her ashes in it,” said Linda Surratt, “and it says Lesa Ann Surratt and it tells her birthday. And it says sister. That's what she always called me. Sister. So I carry this with me and I wear this everywhere I go because she's always in my heart."

Surratt says a necklace and a memorial garden in her backyard keep her sister Lesa's memory alive

"She didn't have a lot of money,” said Surratt, “but she tried hard. Yeah she had a drug problem and she had a mental problem, just like there are a lot of people to have issues."

Sherman Police arrested Lesa at a routine traffic stop last August. According to the lawsuit, she was in police custody when she allegedly tried to swallow a baggie of cocaine. Linda Surratt claims officers beat her sister and it is because of this that she became asphyxiated, was transported to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital-WNJ and later found brain dead.

"Lots of Lesa's friends came to the hospital and to the ICU,” said Surratt, “so I had a lot of support during that time, up until the time I was..had to turn the life support off.”

The suit says Lesa's autopsy determined she did die from asphyxiation. Surrat's sister-in-law says Lesa's spirit hasn't left her home.

"Lesa loved dragonflies,” said Rita Key, Lesa’s sister in law, “and I haven't seen a dragonfly here all year, until today. And I saw one in the front yard so I know she's here."

Sherman's city attorney released a statement Wednesday saying the actions of Sherman Police were investigated by Texas Rangers and the findings were presented to a Grand Jury with no charges filed and the officers cleared.

Linda - who has no children of her own - says she thought of Lesa has her child.

"She's a good person,” said Surratt, “she's a lot better person than I could ever be."

Surratt wants the community to know this lawsuit is not about the money, but rather - as she says - getting justice for her sister's death. She has plans to create a foundation one day in Lesa’s name, honoring her life.