Fort Worth, TX – The Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD) released bodycam footage that showed the arrest of a man who fought with police for nearly five minutes (video below.)
A brief cellphone recording of the altercation had caused outrage on social media.
The cellphone video, which was recorded by a man traveling by in his vehicle, captured just 45 seconds of Forrest Curry’s arrest on Saturday.
“The video being circulated depicts officers struggling with the male and striking him as they attempt to handcuff him,” Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald explained in a press release on Sunday. “What the video does not depict is that it took three officers and one supervisor to effectively place the resisting subject into handcuffs.”
The officers involved in the altercation pushed for the release of the bodycam footage, Assistant Police Chief Charles Ramirez told the Star-Telegram.
The incident took place after the Fort Worth Fire Department (FWFD) received a call that two men were passed out in the breezeway of an apartment complex, KDFW reported.
According to CBS News, the reporting party was concerned that the men might be dead. The FWFD also received a separate report that a man was having a seizure.
The FWFD medics told police that when they arrived at the scene, Curry, 35, began throwing punches at them.
Curry fled from police when they responded to assist, resulting in a foot pursuit that lasted for approximately three blocks, KTVT reported.
The bodycam footage showed police as they attempted to place Curry into handcuffs, while he argued, complained, and refused to place his hand behind his back.
One of the officers delivered several distraction strikes, which Chief Ramirez said was a part of every FWPD officer’s training, according to KDFW.
"The body camera video provides insight into the erratic behavior and active resistance presented by Mr. Curry throughout the duration of the arrest process," the department said in a statement to CBS News. "Ultimately, to safely effect his arrest required five officers to negate his flight, active resistance to being handcuffed, and taken into police custody."
Fort Worth Assistant City Manager Jay Chapa noted that the cellphone video of the incident did not fully capture what occurred, and that the bodycam needed to be released “for the sake of transparency,” the Star-Telegram reported.
“It shows exactly what happened,” Chapa said.
“As you can see, he's resisting the whole time," Chief Ramirez told the Star-Telegram. "The officers showed a lot of restraint. They are young officers and did what we expected them to do. This shows what the officers were actually dealing with."
The officers were also backed by Mayor Betsy Price, who praised their actions, and the FWPD as a whole.
“Every day, our officers are faced with very difficult decisions as they ensure the safety of Fort Worth residents,” Price said. “The release of this footage demonstrates a proactive approach and gives the public a better understanding of the actions taken by our officers in this specific incident.”
Curry was arrested for resisting arrest, evading arrest, and public intoxication, the New York Daily News reported.
Curry’s lawyers, L. Chris Stewart and Jasmine Crockett, claimed that Curry had experienced a seizure just before police arrived at the scene, and said he didn't know that officers were on top of him, according to the New York Daily News.
"Unfortunately, it seems the Fort Worth Police Department has a culture of violating the rights of people of color,” Stewart and Crockett said in written statement, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Crockett blasted Chief Fitzgerald for his objective response to the incident.
“You would think an African-American chief, out of all people, would have some understanding this type of situation,” she told the New York Daily News.
Crockett called the release of the bodycam footage a “self-serving tactic” on the department’s behalf, according to CBS News.
"It seems as if he suffered from a seizure and woke up potentially disoriented with what was going on," she claimed. "I honestly don't believe that he resisted."
You can see the newly release bodycam footage below: