Fort Worth PD releases body cam of controversial arrest

Fort Worth police released body camera video from an arrest that has sparked criticism from activists.

Activists claim an officer seen on a 45-second cell phone video punching a black man during an arrest on Saturday used excessive force.

Forrest Curry’s attorney says he did not resist officers. But the police body cam video shows Curry strongly resisting and ignoring officers’ commands.

Police explain the punches seen on in the cell phone clip were not excessive force but rather part of training they call “distraction blows.” The arrest took 4 and-a-half minutes. They say the body cam video shows a much more complete story than the 45-second cell phone video that caused the controversy.

Fort Worth PD also released 911 calls that show residents saying Curry and another man were doing drugs and bothering residents before passing out.

Dash camera video from one of the first Fort Worth police officers to respond to the scene shows an officer chasing Curry, who appears to slip on the curb and fall.

Body camera video shows the arrest. Police say it was silent for several seconds because of a delay built into the camera system. Officers can then be heard repeatedly yelling commands.

Once more officers arrive, they get Curry turned over. Again, he resists their commands to put his hands behind his back. It was around the time this cell phone video was shot by someone passing by.

The video initially caused community outrage after showing officers punching Curry. Fort Worth Police Assistant Chief Charles Ramirez said on Tuesday it’s why they decided to release the body camera.

"The limited amount of information available to the public fails to provide a full picture of the efforts required to place a combative subject into custody,” Ramirez said.

The body camera shows the punches, as well. Police said they were “distractionary strikes,” a tactic used to distract a person by hitting one side of their body and enabling officers to free up an arm or hand on the other side. Ramirez said it is part of every officer’s training.

After more than 5 minutes after police first tried to get control of him, Curry was lifted up on a stretcher and taken to JPS Hospital.

Police say the initial call was for two people passed out in a breezeway. Fort Worth Fire Department medics called police to get help after they say Curry began taking swings at them.

Once police arrived, they say Curry took off running. Officers chased him for three blocks before catching up with him.

A Fort Worth medic can be heard on the body camera video.

“He come up and he was pissed off because we were working on him,” the medic explained. “He said something about his shoe and complaining about a jacket. I have no idea. But he went after everybody in the complex, including us."

As of yet, police have no blood tests to prove Curry was on drugs or intoxicated even though they had probable cause to suspect that.

Michael Campbell, Curry's attorney, says his client has a medical condition.

"Currently, he is seeking treatment from his physician. He has a history of seizures. The original 911 call to police was for a person having a seizure outside the store,” Campbell said. “It’s a smear campaign and a distraction by the Fort Worth Police Department. This was a medical situation. Their release of the body cam doesn't negate the fact that excessive force was used in effectuating the arrest. And I'm still confident that Mr. Curry will be exonerated of these charges.”

Two of the three 911 calls about Curry and the other man show residents said the men were doing drugs and yelling and screaming before passing out.

A small group of about a dozen protesters marched to Fort Worth City Hall Tuesday night in response to the arrest investigation.

Protesters plan to address council members and Mayor Betsy Price during public comment time.

Organizers said they have seen the additional police footage released, but they see it a different way. They still argue that Curry was a medical victim and are calling for the officers in the video to be fired and to be arrested and charged.

Protestors said they are not just focused on the sole incident, but they are pointing to a series of controversial interactions over the past few years between Fort Worth police and black members of the community.

The activists are calling for the city of Worth to shut down its Race and Culture Task Force. They say it's a sham made to look like the city is doing something.

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