Fort Worth police officer Brian Gentry will return to the SWAT team June 8 after being placed on restricted duty during an excessive force investigation following a car chase last week, the The Fort Worth Police Officers Association says.
Gentry was removed from active duty and stripped of his gun and badge while the Fort Worth Police Department investigated whether he used excessive force against a driver, 42-year-old Joe Gonzales, being pursued by police.
"We would like to thank the citizens of Fort Worth for their continued support of the officers of the Fort Worth Police Department and ensuring their due process rights. We will continue to fiercely advocate for the rights of all officers, transparency in all investigations, and above all else, the safety and protection of our citizens," the FWPOA said Friday in a news release.
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The Fort Worth Police Department said Friday afternoon that a preliminary investigation found there was no excessive force used by any officer involved and, as a result, Gentry is being returned to his unit.
In video recorded from Chopper 5, Gentry appears to strike Gonzales twice with the butt-end of a tear gas launcher as the driver climbed out of his car following a crash with a FWPD SWAT vehicle.
Gentry denies assaulting the driver and claims Gonzales was off balance as he crawled out through a back window and grabbed onto the launcher, forcing the officer to struggle with him to regain control of the weapon, the sources said.
Terry Daffron Porter, attorney for Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, said what Gentry was doing was executing a "weapons retention technique."
"He took the suspect down, but in the process of doing so, when the suspect came out of the vehicle his leg or arm got caught in the strap of Gentry's launcher," Porter said. "You'll notice that Gentry goes down, he waivers a little bit."
NBC 5 Staff contributed to this report.