The attorney for a Waxahachie man who was injured by a Dallas Fire-Rescue paramedic two years ago is demanding criminal charges be filed.
The incident, in August 2019, was recorded on a surveillance camera and portions of the video were obtained by the Dallas Morning News.
The video shows Dallas firefighters responding to a small grass fire along an Interstate 30 frontage road in west Dallas.
Paramedic Brad Cox appears to stomp out some flames with his foot as he approaches a homeless man sitting on the curb named Kyle Vess.
The latest news from around North Texas.
The video clip ends, but Vess said what happened next is one of his last memories from that day.
“Brad Cox, he hopped out of the cruiser, and he judo kicked me in the face,” Vess said.
Moments later, surveillance video resumes showing Vess swinging his arms, walking toward Cox.
“That's when I got up and I threw the pipe but I missed him,” Vess said.
The two disappear behind a fire engine. When they reappear seconds later, Vess is on the ground and Cox is seen kicking him repeatedly.
Body camera video from Dallas police officers, obtained by the paper, captured Cox kicking Vess as he tried to sit up before he is punched, shot with a stun gun, and arrested.
“I'm blessed to be alive,” Vess said Wednesday, flanked by his parents, Kevin and LaNae Vess, his sister Shelbi Madden, and his attorney George Milner.
“Let’s assume for the sake of argument, that he [Cox] had a right to defend himself. Once he no longer needed to defend himself, his justification for using force ended,” Milner said.
Cox was never charged, though Vess was.
He was charged and indicted with assaulting a public servant, a charge Dallas County District Attorney John Cruzot dropped Tuesday after the video was made public.
Cruzot told the paper in September his office “dropped the ball” and failed to thoroughly investigate.
“When I saw the video, I literally got sick to my stomach and started crying,” LaNae Vess said.
“It’s as bad as it gets,” said Kevin Vess. “It’s sickening.”
Vess's parents said he has schizophrenia, has a metal plate in his head from a previous incident, and has been disabled all his life.
They say on Aug. 2, 2019, the day of the encounter with Cox, Vess had a broken ankle from an unrelated incident, and therefore, they said there was no way he could’ve attacked Cox.
“He beat, I mean just savagely beat this man for no reason. I suspect that, for no other reason that he thought he was some homeless guy that didn't have a family didn't have the means to get somebody like me,” Milner said.
Dallas Fire-Rescue said Cox is on paid administrative leave and the department can't comment because of ongoing litigation. An attorney for Cox said he couldn't comment either.
“I've got numbness in my face, broken teeth, I shake on this side,” Vess said, looking at his hand trembling.
Vess said he's still suffering from what happened and after more than two years, wants Cox held accountable.
“Brad Cox needs to be arrested and charged for injury to a disabled person,” Milner said.
Dallas police said its public integrity unit conducted a criminal investigation and is currently reviewing its findings.
Cox is also being sued over a separate case from five years ago involving another homeless man.
That man, Hirschell Fletcher, Jr., had been robbed and beaten outside a soup kitchen located at 500 Park Avenue in Dallas in December 2016.
But instead of treating him, the lawsuit said Cox and another Dallas firefighter made fun of him, and never took him to the hospital.
He was later found unresponsive at a detention facility and died from his injuries.
The Dallas Morning News reports that a fire department investigation later found Cox had altered records of the incident.