Video shows restaurant brawl involving former sheriff

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Surveillance video from inside a Midlothian restaurant was released that led to Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown losing his job and his brother going to jail.

Midlothian police say the video was a large part of their evidence against the sheriff and shows exactly what happened on New Year’s Day.

"That's going to be Bobby Brown standing right there you can just see he's in the black vest"

The video shows the moments leading up to the fight that broke out at the Whataburger lobby in Midlothian. It shows Bobby Brown, Johnny’s brother, talking to four young men who had just had some sort of verbal spat with them in the parking lot. The verbal confrontation quickly turned physical.

“He's got his hands up in the air. It kind of happened quickly, but Matt pushed him down in defense of his friend. And that's the sheriff coming in right there in the cowboy hat and orange shirt,” explained Midlothian Police Capt. John Spann. "He did connect a couple of times, you know, hit him in the face. Then, once Matt got ahold of his hands, he just held him and was able to hold him."

Matthew Longoria is the man the former sheriff was tussling with. He says when he saw Bobby Brown punch his friend, his first reaction was to get the guy off of him.

“I don't really think I pushed him that hard,” Longoria said.

Midlothian police say as patrons and some of Longoria's friends were calling 911, there were several minutes of verbal back and forth.

"It was a lot of me saying, ‘Hey, you guys are 40 years -- our seniors. In what world was this acceptable?’” Longoria said. “And one of their friends was actually like, ‘Well, this is how we used to do it back in the day.'"

The video then shows Bobby Brown coming back in the restaurant. This time, his target seemed to be Longoria.

"Bobby Brown, you can tell is still kind of agitated,” Spann said. “And he's gonna come around here, and this is when he assaults Matt."

Midlothian officers arrived and began interviewing the manager, who immediately described the sheriff, his brother and their friends as the aggressors.

"And as he was talking to the manager Johnny kept trying to interject himself and telling her no that's not what happened,” Spann said. “Officer Walters couldn't get a clear story. So at that time, we just asked him, ‘I don't want you to intimidate her. I need you to step outside.’ And the sheriff, he did go ahead and comply and stepped outside so Officer Walters could get the statement from the manager."

The sheriff would eventually plead guilty to misdemeanor assault and surrendered his peace officer's license.

Last week, Bobby Brown also plead guilty to misdemeanor assault, got a five-day jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.

Longoria says he's satisfied with the punishment and wasn't aware of one other part of Bobby Brown's punishment: he has to write a letter of apology to Longoria and his friend.

"Does he really?” Longoria said. “That will be the icing on the cake. I think there's something missing, and I think that might be it."

FOX 4 reached out to the former sheriff, but he declined a request for an interview.


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