Officer Investigated After Video Shows Protester Pushed from Planter

Officer placed on restrictive duty

Dallas Police Chief David Brown has put a police officer on restricted duty after a video of Occupy Dallas' Nov. 5 protest shows the off-duty officer pushing a demonstrator.

The video shows the officer, who was working as a security guard at the time, pushing a man off of a planter in front of the building. Dallas police are investigating the officer's actions.

Occupy Dallas organizers have said since the day of the incident that an off-duty officer shoved Stephen Benavides.

Dallas police originally said Benavides refused to come off of the planter in front of the bank assaulted the officer after being directed to get down.

While you can't hear what is being said between the officer and Benavides, the visual evidence seems to contradict the department's initial claims. 

Occupy Dallas spokesman Michael Prestonise told NBC 5 that Benavides was shoved after he refused to move out of the off-duty officer's way.

Benavides was consequently arrested on a charge of assaulting a police officer and held at Lew Sterrett for several days.

While on restricted duty, the officer will be prohibited from working off-duty employment until the investigation is complete.

In a news release Friday, the department issued the following statement:

"The Dallas Police Department is dedicated to the protection of all members of the public. Any allegation of police misconduct is taken seriously and will be vigorously investigated. The Police Department encourages any witnesses who would like to make a statement or who have additional video to contact the Internal Affairs Division at (214) 671-3986."

The department also said that in light of the video, it has requested that Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins and the city attorney halt criminal cases alleged to have occurred "until further consultation takes place."

The department said that should happen next week.

Also Friday, Occupy Dallas and the city spent the day in court arguing over the pending eviction of the group set for Saturday.

The city has agreed to not shut down the campsite.

The city said earlier this week that the group had not lived up to its end of the bargain and that numerous, ongoing material breaches would result in the group's permit for occupation of City Hall land would be revoked.

A federal judge scheduled a hearing on the matter for 4 p.m. Monday. Dallas cannot kick out the protesters as long as they follow the law.

NBC 5's Ken Kalthoff contributed to this report.

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