Dallas in-custody death: Austin family sues several officers

An Austin family is suing several University of Texas System police officers for the in-custody death of their loved one. Forty-one-year-old Kenneth Knotts died in November 2022 while handcuffed on a hospital bed in Dallas.

Body camera footage showed Knotts in a hospital bed on his stomach with officers on his back. It lasts for more than five minutes. Knotts can be heard saying, "I can’t breathe."

"What did he do wrong? For y’all to do him like that? That just broke my heart," Knott’s mother, Jocelyn Knotts, said.

When Knotts was flipped over on the bed, a woman is heard on camera saying, "No pulse, no pulse."

"I was so powerless, it was like I was trying to go through the camera, trying to get in there, like stop, stop, oh my god, what are y’all doing, what are y’all doing?" Knotts said.

Knotts was at the UT Southwestern Medical Center for a psychiatric evaluation.

Photo courtesy: Knotts family

"How did we get from crisis evaluation to murder, homicide," Knotts said.

Knotts’ mother said he was on his way from Houston to Dallas when he got a flat tire and ended up getting into an altercation at a convenience store earlier that morning. Police responded and said he was acting erratically, combative, and spitting, so he was taken to the hospital. A few hours later, he fled. The body camera footage shared with FOX 7 from the Knotts family attorney shows when he was brought back.


"Kenneth wasn’t fighting back, he was trying to save his own life," Knotts said.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner ruled Knotts’ death a homicide and said it was a result of sudden cardiac arrest associated with physical restraint and a semi-prone position.

Late 2023, a grand jury declined to indict the officers.

"That was a murder live on camera," Knotts said.

Knotts’ family is suing several UT Southwestern police officers. The lawsuit claims the officers sandwiched Knotts against the hospital bed, their combined force killed Knotts, and then they gave false and self-serving reports. Knotts’ family is demanding a jury trial.

"This should never have happened," Knotts said.

UT Southwestern said in a statement: "We remain saddened by this loss of life and extend our condolences. In compliance with privacy and other regulations, UT Southwestern is unable to provide further comment."