North Texas

Fort Worth Police Officer Accused of Beating Man He Was Arresting, Lying About It

A Fort Worth police officer was booked into jail Thursday afternoon, accused of beating a man he was arresting and lying about it. A grand jury indicted Officer Jon Romer Jr. on multiple charges, including official oppression.

Romer's supervisor, Lt. Scott Keenum, was suspended from the department for five days for not writing up paperwork on the incident quickly enough. That's according to Keenum's attorney, Jim Lane.

Lane also said that Keenum testified before the grand jury but was not indicted.

Romer spent about six hours on Thursday inside the Tarrant County Jail. He was booked on two felony charges and a misdemeanor, all stemming from an arrest he made back in November 2016 at Harris Methodist Hospital.

A grand jury indicted Romer for allegedly hitting, choking and pushing 21-year-old Henry Newson, then lying about it to police and the grand jury.

Romer arrested Newson for criminal trespass and resisting arrest, but the charges were later dropped. Lane said that Romer was working an off-duty security job at the hospital at the time.

According to the indictment, Romer lied under oath when he said that he told Newson he was under arrest before he hit him.

On Friday, several African-American leaders said Romer's indictment sets back race relations in the city. Romer is white. Newson is black.

"What's going on here in Fort Worth is a national tragedy," said Rev. Michael Bell, a longtime critic of the police department. "There is no hope. There's no light at the end of the tunnel. There's just a train coming our way."

Romer has faced a grand jury before, when he shot and killed 32-year-old Charal Thomas during a 2011 traffic stop. Thomas's three young children were in the car at the time.

Police say that Romer tried to arrest Thomas for outstanding warrants, but he refused to get of the car. Investigators say Romer then reached his arm in to unlock the car and Thomas started driving away, dragging the officer with him. That's when Romer shot and killed Thomas. The grand jury did not indict the officer in that case.

Romer is now on restricted duty with the Fort Worth Police Department. He's been a police officer for 15 years. He's also a licensed paramedic and works in the department's elite tactical medical unit.

Contact Us