Fort Worth police investigate video of forceful arrest

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The Fort Worth Police Department has opened an internal investigation into the forceful arrest of a black man last weekend that was captured on video and posted on Facebook.

In the 50-second video of Saturday’s arrest posted by the Next Generation Action Network, which organizes demonstrations against police abuse, two Fort Worth police officers can be seen restraining Forrest Curry as he lies face-down in the street. One kneels on Curry’s back and repeatedly punches him as he cries, “Why the f— are you punching me? Why?”

Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said in a statement Sunday that the officers were responding to a call for backup from fire department personnel, who told the officers that Curry “appeared to be intoxicated and had attempted to assault them.”

It took three officers and one supervisor about five minutes to subdue Curry, Fitzgerald said.

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Curry, 35, was booked into Tarrant County Corrections Center on charges of resisting officers and evading arrest. Jail records showed that Curry was being held Monday on a $2,250 bond.

One of his attorneys, L. Chris Stewart of Atlanta, said Curry has a history of seizures and had one Saturday while walking that caused him to collapse in the street.

When Fort Worth emergency medical staff arrived in response to a call for help, Curry came to and, disoriented, took off running.

“It’s just sad that in a medical emergency, (police) couldn’t have been more patient or understanding,” Stewart said.

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It is the latest in a string of confrontations that have raised questions about the Fort Worth Police Department’s use of force policies.

Two lawsuits related to the use of force by city police officers were filed in December.

In one of them, Jeremi Rainwater, who is white, contends that an officer shot him in the back without cause and several other officers colluded to cover up the flawed police response.

A grand jury that reviewed the officers’ behavior in the 2015 shooting did not file any charges against them.

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In the other, Jacqueline Craig, who is black, is suing over a December 2016 arrest in which a Fort Worth officer wrestled her and her teenage daughter to the ground. Those arrests were captured on cellphone video.

Charges against Craig and her daughter were dropped, and the officer served a 10-day suspension for violating departmental policies.

In addition, last December, a Fort Worth police sergeant was fired for ordering a rookie officer to use a stun gun on a woman who had called for help during a domestic dispute. Fitzgerald released a 12-minute video from the body camera of the rookie officer that he said showed the sergeant’s behavior was “absolutely unacceptable.”