Fort Worth police on Tuesday released video from officers’ body cameras that appeared to show a man was actively resisting as officers tried to handcuff him, shedding a different light on an incident that drew national attention.
The department released the video to counter video from bystanders’ cell phone cameras that sparked outrage among some activists.
That video, which recorded a portion of the incident, showed two officers punching and kneeing the man, Forrest Curry, as he was face down on the street.
The initial video sparked complaints of police brutality.
The police bodycam video begins with Curry, 35, on the ground. It shows the officers repeatedly asked him to put his hands behind his back, but he refused.
It took nearly five minutes and five officers to handcuff Curry. Once he was handcuffed, the struggle was over, the police video showed.
Fort Worth officers are trained to punch people in the side as a distraction technique, said assistant chief Charles Ramirez.
Ramirez said based on his review of the videos, the officers involved did nothing wrong, actually showed restraint and could have used their stun guns.
The incident happened on Saturday outside an apartment complex in East Fort Worth.
Officers were responding to a medical call after firefighters and paramedics reported Curry was being combative after possibly suffering a seizure.
Assistant city manager Jay Chapa, who supervises the police department, said the body-cam video would have been released earlier but there were concerns it could taint the criminal case against Curry.
In the end, city leaders decided to release the video after a meeting at City Hall late Tuesday afternoon that included Mayor Betsy Price.
The officers’ body cameras did not turn on until they were down on the ground with the suspect.
A police spokesman told NBC5 officers are expected to turn on their body cameras on every call but they do take into account that they may not remember it right away when running after a suspect.
The timing of when the cameras turned on will be part of an internal review of this case. The department has invested in new body cameras that will turn on automatically when an officer gets out of the car.
A small group of activists marched to city hall Tuesday night to speak out before the council.
They say it should never be policy to punch someone who is down on the ground and they want major changes to the department's use of force procedures. This is the latest in a string of Fort Worth cases protesters have spoken against.
"It's the same ruse that they keep doing over and over again,” said activist Rod Smith. “It's the same piece of the puzzle out of the handbook. They keep lying, they keep arresting us, attacking us in the middle of the street and we're tired of it. We want to bring awareness to that."
NBC5's Alice Barr contributed to this report.
There's new video that is shedding more light on what witnesses say unfolded *before* a controversial arrest in Fort Worth.
The video is difficult to watch, so we are only showing a short part of it.
The man you see in the black shirt on the right side of the stairs is Forrest Curry, who at times is punching into the air. Police say he was intoxicated.
His lawyer stands by earlier statements that he was having a seizure... Saying in part.. they "don't know what caused it.. and that he has undergone several medical tests."
Witnesses called 9-1-1 for help..
Later police video shows officers who were called when paramedics say Curry tried to assault them.
During the nearly 5-minute struggle to get him in handcuffs.. officers hit him several times.
Those officers are now under investigation - but police say those blows are a distraction tactic.
Activists are demanding the city change that policy. You can see that video below.