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Denton residents deserve the truth

We ask you to consider Jason Wayne Bishop’s story with an open mind.

In Thursday’s edition, Bishop said he became a victim of police brutality after a Denton officer picked him up early Saturday on suspicion of public intoxication.

A photo that accompanied the story is disturbing. Bishop said the photo shows him with injuries suffered during his encounter with police. He alleged that he was slammed to the ground during his arrest and then punched in the face numerous times while in custody.

Police told us that Bishop became verbally confrontational during booking and when he refused to follow instructions, a takedown maneuver was used to prevent resistance or fighting. Ryan Grelle, a Denton police department spokesman, told us that at no time was Bishop ever struck in the face.

Officials said the momentum by the takedown caused Bishop to hit his head on the concrete and when he began bleeding, medics were summoned to bandage his head.

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

Grelle told us that the department routinely conducts immediate reviews into all use-of-force incidents involving its personnel. Jailer Darius Porter, who has been with the department since June 2012, is under investigation for violation of use-of-force policy and was placed on administrative leave Monday, police said.

We are confident that the department’s investigation of Bishop’s allegations will be thorough and exhaustive.

In our view, Denton residents deserve no less. They need to be confident that their police officers and jail staff are well trained in dealing with suspects in custody. The right to be treated fairly and humanely by police is one that each of us should expect and be vigilant to protect. All individuals — from the first-time accused to repeat offenders — deserve equal treatment under the law.

We also believe that our police officers deserve a proper and thorough investigation into this matter. Those who take an oath to serve and protect bear a great deal of responsibility and they must maintain a fragile sense of trust with the public in order to do their jobs well. Any complaint against the department must be thoroughly reviewed and cleared.

Citizens complain about the police from time to time, but our gripes are usually small ones about traffic citations or other minor matters. We view the police as authority figures, as protectors and rely on them to keep our homes and families safe.

That’s why we find stories like this one to be so troubling and why we require that such allegations are proven or disproven.

The police department should make its final report public as soon as the investigation is completed so we can all know what happened and what’s been done about it.

We all need to know the truth.

Guaranteeing that Bishop and all other individuals under police custody are treated properly is the best way to ensure that we will be treated properly ourselves.