UPDATED at 2:46 pm with comment from the neighbor.
Authorities are investigating after a coffin with the words “Diamond Ross” scrawled on it on the lawn of the home of John Creuzot, Dallas District Attorney John Creuzot, was found Saturday morning.
Officers arrived at the house on the 8100 block on San Leandro Drive at around 6:40 am “because a coffin was placed in the front yard without the owner’s permission,” said Sgt. Warren Mitchell, a Dallas police spokesman.
Later that morning, authorities – including members of the bomb squad – were at home to examine the coffin and eventually remove it. Creuzot was seen outside talking to authorities, including someone from the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department.
Dallas District Attorney John Creuzot speaks to authorities investigating a coffin found in his White Rock home on Saturday.(Juan Figueroa / employee photographer)
When asked to comment, Creuzot said he did not have one.
Earl Slocumb, who lives across the street, said he saw about five police cars parked on the street in front of their house around 7:30 a.m. He said the officers asked the neighbors for video footage or information about the incident. His ring video doorbell camera didn’t record who left the coffin, he said.
Slocumb said the coffin was taken away by police around noon. He said the area is usually free of problems, so neighbors were concerned about the large police presence.
“It was just a lot of police cars and people couldn’t drive down the street,” he said.
The coffin had a homemade look, appeared to be made of wood, with lettering that looked like white spray paint. A plane attached to a nearby power pole was headlined “WHERE IS PROGRESS?” and went on to read: “Creuzot says he gives hope to the hopeless. Give hope to the Diamond Ross family. Hold the Dallas Police Department responsible for her death. #JusticeForDiamondRoss. ”
It is not known whether the coffin and the aviator were installed by the same person or persons.
Diamond Ross died on August 19, 2018, about 24 hours after she stopped responding at the city detention center. The incident began at around 5:40 a.m. on August 18, after police and an ambulance were taken to the 1400 block on Exeter Avenue near the home of 34-year-old Ross in south Dallas.
Police said Ross and her boyfriend had an argument and she broke air conditioning. Officers said she was acting erratically and combatively. It took several officers to subdue them and handcuff them, records show. The Dallas County medical examiner’s office later found that she had died from an accidental overdose.
Diamond Ross(Family of Diamond Ross)
Dallas Fire Rescue officials have released Ross for transport to jail. However, the police took her in a patrol car to the city’s detention center, about eight miles away, to book pending arrest warrants. Once there, she was found to be unresponsive, according to records. Another Dallas Fire Rescue crew arrived and took her to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, where she died shortly after 7 a.m. on August 19.
More than a year later, Dallas Police posted several videos from Ross’s final hours. In several places Ross can be heard asking for help and water. Other shots from the prison show Ross being dragged into a cell and placed in a wheelchair.
DPD examined two officers – Sr. Cpl. Larry Moody and trainee William Ortega – for their actions during the arrest. Ortega resigned during the investigation and Moody was given a written reprimand. The Internal Affairs Division found that both officers “inappropriately” transported a prisoner and did not provide medical treatment.
Prosecutors declined to prosecute the case, referring to the medical examiner’s finding of overdose.
Last June, after months of trying to find answers on the case – namely, why Ross was being held in custody instead of hospital – Ross’ family filed a lawsuit against the City of Dallas and several agencies including the Dallas Police Department, Dallas Fire – Rescue and the Dallas Marshal’s Office.
Several objectives were set in the lawsuit: damages, special and punitive damages; confirmation that Ross’ rights have been violated; and a change in police policy on mental health and substance abuse.
Employee Kelli Smith contributed to this report.