Fort Worth police release bodycam video in arrest of man who swung at firefighters

Police on Tuesday released bodycam video showing the lengths it took to subdue and handcuff a 35-year-old man Saturday after he took swings at firefighters who were trying to help him.

Also released were dashcam video and audio from a 911 call. The release came and released Sunday by the Next Generation Action Network shows two Fort Worth officers appearing to punch the suspect, Forrest Curry, in the face as he was pinned on the street.

The police video, though, paints a different picture, and the officers involved wanted it released, said Assistant Police Chief Charles Ramirez. A group of six police and city officials decided Tuesday afternoon to release the video, even against the advice of Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson.

Assistant City Manager Jay Chapa said the motorist‘s video does not give the full account of what happened and “for the sake of transparency” the police video was released. “It shows exactly what happened,” he said.

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After a video began circulating online that showed a Fort Worth cop punching a suspect, the Fort Worth Police Department released the 911 calls. Listen to a woman describe the man, who was reportedly high on K2, to police and medics. Courtesy of the Fort Worth Police Department

Releasing the 911 call and the video footage “will provide transparency that our community expects and deserves,” police said. The Fort Worth Police Officers Association in a statement said officials “responded appropriately” in releasing the video.

“As you can see, he‘s resisting the whole time,” Ramirez said. “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.”

Mayor Betsy Price issued a statement saying, “Every day, our officers are faced with very difficult decisions as they ensure the safety of Fort Worth residents. 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 on charges of public intoxication, resisting arrest and evading arrest. He also had outstanding traffic warrants.

The incident occurred after police were dispatched to meet an ambulance crew on a call at the Chaparrall Apartments off Handley Drive near Brentwood Stair Road on the city‘s east side. That call was changed to a disturbance when officers received reports that a man had become combative with Fort Worth firefighters.

The suspect fled when an officer approached him and within a short distance tripped and fell to the street, police said.

Curry was told several times to put his hands behind his back and that police were going to stand him up, the video shows. It eventually took five officers to subdue him. Curry was put on a stretcher and taken to John Peter Smith Hospital. At one point, one of the officers asked him if he wanted some water.

Ramirez said the officer was doing as he was trained, delivering four “distraction strikes” to Curry‘s side and shoulder as well as two knee strikes. One punch, though, appears to touch the back of Curry‘s head. That technique is used only after a suspect fails to follow verbal orders and continues to resist officers, he said.

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The strikes did not injure Curry, police said.

The names of the officers are not being released because the case is still under administrative review, Ramirez said.

A second suspect also fled before police arrived and was later found nearby passed out, police said. During the 911 call, the caller said the men appeared not to be breathing.

Paramedics told police the men appeared to have been high on K2, a synthetic marijuana.

At one point during the nearly five-minute arrest, Curry said he believed he had no clothes on and that he was choking even though police did not have their hands on his neck.

Michael Campbell, a Fort Worth attorney working on the case, said Curry was released from the Tarrant County Jail on Monday. He was one of a small group who gathered Tuesday evening at the Tarrant County Courthouse and marched to Fort Worth City Hall.

Campbell said the narrative that Forrest had not been arrested while he was being punched does not justify the act.

Rod Smith, Jacqueline Craig’s cousin, said the arrest of Curry is something the community has seen several times before.

When everything is said and done, he said, we will find that Curry did nothing wrong and he was attacked by Fort Worth police.

“What happened to Forrest is the same thing that happened to Jackie Craig,” Smith said. “It’s the Fort Worth Way.”

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Fort Worth police are investigating officers after a controversial arrest Saturday of Forrest Curry. The 35-year-old man was taken into custody for public intoxication, resisting and evading arrest. There was also a warrant out for Curry‘s arrest. Courtesy of Next Generation Action Network

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Mitch Mitchell: ,