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Denton police release jail takedown video

Profile image for By Megan Gray-Hatfield / Staff Writer
By Megan Gray-Hatfield / Staff Writer

Denton police, under public pressure, released a video Wednesday of former city jailer Darius Porter using improper use of force on an inmate earlier this month.

Police unveiled the 20-minute video at a hastily called news conference at the new Denton Public Safety Training Center adjacent to the police station on Hickory Street. Officer Ryan Grelle, department spokesman, said he hopes the video will quiet what he called a “public outcry on social media.”

“We want the public to know where we were in the wrong and what really happened,” Grelle said.

The video was shown as a way to apologize to the public for the incident, he said.

A Denton officer arrested Jason Bishop, 38, on a public intoxication charge July 19 and took him to the city jail. In an earlier interview with the Denton Record-Chronicle, Bishop alleged he was slammed to the ground by the arresting officer, Clint Webb, and then later at the jail was punched in the face numerous times by a man he described as “a black jailer.”

The jailer was later identified as Porter, police said.

The video shows jailers asking Bishop several times to take off his shoes and socks, but he refused. Grelle said that was just one of the ways Bishop was being uncooperative with the police.

Seconds later, two jailers, including Porter, lift Bishop off a bench and slam him face-first onto the booking desk counter. None of Bishop’s facial injuries happened at that moment, Grelle said.

Jailers then dragged Bishop to Cell 14.

The video shows Porter as he trips Bishop — police call it a “leg sweep.” He lands face-down on the concrete floor and then rolls over from a pool of blood that streamed from his head.

The second jailer left the cell and contacted medics, Grelle said. Porter appeared to help clean up the blood with some sort of cloth before Bishop sat up from a second, smaller pool of blood on the floor to hold the cloth on his wound.

Medics arrived and wrapped Bishop’s head with a bandage and walked him out of the jail to a waiting ambulance. He was taken to Denton Regional Medical Center, where he was treated for a facial contusion, a broken nose and an upper lip abrasion, Bishop said. He said he received 17 stitches to his forehead and two to his nose. He also claimed wrist injuries.

He was released from the hospital later that day.

Grelle explained to a room of journalists Wednesday that the reason Bishop’s injuries were so severe is because Porter did not wait for the other jailer to come all the way into the cell with him.

“He should have waited for the other jailer to hold Bishop’s right arm,” Grelle said. “He [the other jailer] was in, but not all the way, and he didn’t have a full grasp on his [Bishop’s] arm, which would have made for a more controlled maneuver.”

An internal affairs investigation began soon after a supervisor reported the incident, and Porter was placed on leave July 21. An internal affairs investigation determined that Porter did use excessive force, and he was fired Friday.

“The case, from our end, is closed and ended Friday,” Grelle said.

The results of the department’s internal affairs investigation were confirmed in the video. Bishop’s injuries resulted from the misapplication of the leg sweep, causing his head to hit the floor, the internal affairs report said.

No officers or jailers used any strikes, kicks, punches or weapons, Grelle said, pointing to the jail video footage. No other action will be taken against the arresting officer or any other department employee, he said.

Grelle said Bishop hasn’t discussed the incident with internal affairs yet, but officers showed him the video Wednesday morning after he came in to speak with police about another incident.

Should he file a formal complaint, the department might look at filing criminal charges, police said.

Bishop said he was in Wednesday to make a complaint about an officer who he alleged has been harassing him for two years.

“I was shown footage, but that wasn’t the reason I was there. ... They did not apologize to me, though,” he said.

Bishop said his head still hurts, but described his other injuries as “healing quite nicely.”

“I am not going back to the police until I have an attorney,” he said. “To me, all who work there are just a wolf in sheep’s clothing and that’s the honest truth.”

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