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Jailer placed on leave

Profile image for By Megan Gray-Hatfield
By Megan Gray-Hatfield

Man claims he was victim of police brutality

A 38-year-old Denton man is claiming he was a victim of police brutality, and now he wants justice served.

Jason Wayne Bishop was picked up early Saturday in the 100 block of Avenue A on suspicion of public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor, Denton police said. During the booking process, Bishop began to be uncooperative and was forced to the ground by jailer Darius Porter, who has since been placed on administrative leave, police said.

“I have been arrested before but never treated like this, and that’s the stone-cold truth,” Bishop said Wednesday afternoon. “I want someone to pay; justice needs to be served.”

Medics were dispatched to the jail and Bishop was transported to Denton Regional Medical Center, where he was treated for a facial contusion, a broken nose, an upper lip abrasion and wrist injuries. He received 17 stitches to his forehead and two to his nose, he said.

“When the officer approached me, I told him I had a couple of sips of vodka, but I was drinking raspberry Sprite from a Pita Pit cup at the time,” Bishop said. “He asked if anything was in the cup and I told him just soda. He did find a water bottle on top of my pack with vodka inside.”

Bishop said he went to hang out at his normal spot between the Pita Pit and the Crooked Crust on Friday night. But he has a hard time remembering much else after talking to Officer Clint Webb.

“I was just on the ground blindsided after that,” he said of his arrest by Webb. “He really jerked me around.”

Once at the city jail, police records show, Bishop became verbally confrontational toward Porter after mishearing a statement by Porter about him. After attempts to calm Bishop down, he continued to grow increasingly hostile toward Porter and refused to follow basic instructions, police said.

Bishop said he refused to sign any paperwork presented to him because he has been told by acquaintances that signing anything is an admission of guilt and can be used against him later.

“I have been told by an attorney during a free consultation that I don’t have to sign anything,” he said. “So I said I wasn’t signing [anything] they brought me.”

Police said that after Bishop continued to be uncooperative, he was lifted off the book-in bench by Porter and Spandan Desai, another jailer, and taken to a cell. Once inside the cell, police records show, Porter began a takedown maneuver to get him on the ground to prevent any resistance or fighting.

Officials said the momentum by Porter’s takedown caused Bishop to hit his head on the concrete. Police said Bishop began bleeding from his forehead and Porter stayed to get some of the bleeding under control until medics arrived and bandaged his head.

Bishop alleged that he was slammed to the ground during his arrest and then punched in the face numerous times by a man he described as a “black jailer.”

“I don’t remember anything but seeing white lines and some medics in the distance. ... I was taken out on a stretcher,” he recalled. “They told me at the hospital I did not show any signs of brain damage, but I do have vision damage that might last a long time.”

Officer Ryan Grelle, spokesman for the Denton police, said Bishop has a long history with the department, including numerous public intoxication offenses, consuming alcohol on premises, urinating in public and theft. The list goes back as far as 2002, he said.

“He signed a ticket at the hospital so he could get medical treatment and not have to come back to jail,” Grelle said of the public intoxication charge. “A fine could be up to $500.”

In the five years since Grelle has been spokesman for the police department, he said this is the first time he recalls an inmate being injured in such a manner.

Porter, who has been with the department since June 2012, is under investigation for violation of use of force and was placed on administrative leave Monday.

“Mr. Bishop’s injury occurred as a result of the prisoner being forcefully taken to the ground, [and] at no time was he ever struck in the face,” Grelle said.

Grelle said the department routinely conducts immediate reviews into all use-of-force incidents involving its personnel. As of Wednesday evening, he wasn’t certain where the process was with Internal Affairs, but said officials can take as long as needed to complete their investigation.

No other officers or jailers involved in the situation are under investigation at this time, officials said.

Bishop, who was released from the hospital Saturday afternoon, said he is trying to figure out his next step and is playing phone tag with the Internal Affairs investigator in between trying to sleep off his pain.

“I do know I want to file more than just a complaint,” he said. “I am looking at my options.”

MEGAN GRAY-HATFIELD can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.