FORT WORTH, Texas - Opening statements started Tuesday afternoon in the criminal trial of a Fort Worth police officer.
Jon Romer is on trial for what happened during an off duty job at Harris Methodist Hospital three years ago. Bodycam video shows him in punching a patient in a scuffle with the man.
The state began by telling jurors that the case against Officer Jon Romer is a simple one to prove and insist their evidence is undeniable.
Romer is not in custody. He's been listening intently to the trial and, at times, whispering with his attorney.
While prosecutors offered an opening statement, Romer’s defense attorneys declined that opportunity.
Romer is accused of punching Henry Newson in the face and choking him.
The 2016 altercation was in the lobby of Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth. Hospital surveillance video gives a look at what happened, but jurors watched security officers’ body cam video that includes audio.
Newson was questioned about why he's was in the lobby. Newson maintained he was just discharged from being treated at the hospital. He says he borrowed a cell phone to call for a ride. He's then heard telling that person to report that officers were harassing him.
“Immediately prior to this punch, the evidence is going to show Henry Newson trying to tell a bystander, ‘Tell them he’s putting his hands on me.’ That’s what Henry Newson was saying,” said prosecutor Russell Wilson. “the evidence is going to show immediately after saying that, that’s when he got sucker punched.”
Following the altercation, Romer can be heard telling Newson to stay down and that he is under arrest.
Prosecutors say Romer lied to a grand jury and claimed he told Newson he was under arrest before punching him.
Testimony is expected to continue Wednesday. If convicted, Romer could face up to ten years in prison.