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Fort Worth cops accused of excessive force after punching a man who assaulted a paramedic

A video, showing Fort Worth police officers hitting a suspect, has sparked controversy over excessive force. The man was arrested and charged with public intoxication, resisting arrest, and evading arrest. (Image source: KTVT-TV video screenshot)

Two Texas officers are facing public criticism after the Next Generation Action Network released a video that captured them punching a black man they had already pinned to the ground.

The Fort Worth Police Department released a statement on Facebook that noted the video might raise questions about the officers' behavior but claimed that the video doesn't depict the full story of what happened Saturday.

FWPD has launched an internal investigation. The department has not released the names of the officers involved.

This video shows graphic content and may be disturbing to some viewers.

What's the story?

The officers were called to assist the Fort Worth Fire Department on a medical call that turned into a disturbance call when the suspect became combative toward the firefighters and paramedics, according to police.

Forrest Curry, 35, who appeared intoxicated, allegedly assaulted a paramedic who responded to the 911 call.

When the cops showed up and tried to "lawfully detain him," he took off running.

The chase lasted about three blocks.

The officers finally caught up with the suspect, took him to the ground and punched him.

Curry struggled against the cops. He can also be heard cursing at them in the 50-second video.

"The video being circulated depicts officers struggling with the male and striking him as they attempt to handcuff him," FWPD Chief Joel Fitzgerald said. "What the video does not depict is that it took 3 officers and 1 supervisor to effectively place the resisting subject into handcuffs, a struggle that lasted 4.5 minutes."

Are there other videos or witnesses?

Quinisha Johnson, who said she saw part of the incident, took video from another angle.

In Johnson's video, the officers are heard ordering Curry to stop resisting and place his hands behind his back.

“They was telling him to put your hands behind your back and let us cuff you or whatever, but how they had him they couldn’t cuff him and then they was just kicking him all in his ribs and stuff and they said that the reason why it happened was because he hit the EMT, but, you know, I feel like that’s not a reason to hit on somebody,” Johnson said.

Curry has denied being intoxicated and hitting the paramedic. He claims he had a seizure.

Curry's attorney, Jasmine Crockett, told KXAS-TV she's concerned about the injuries she claims the suspect sustained during the arrest.

"It seems the Fort Worth Police Department has a culture of violating the rights of people of color," attorneys Crockett of Dallas and L. Chris Stewart of Atlanta said in a statement, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "We will work tirelessly to determine exactly how this incident occurred and to address it in the most efficient manner."

KXAS asked local activist Rod Smith, what he would say to those who believe the officers were justified:

"I would say, 'How the hell do you see that? How does somebody being down on the ground, I’m down in a surrendering stance and I’m still getting beat! People say that Rodney King’s was justified but we clearly see that it wasn’t! You see people saying that Trayvon Martin was justified but it wasn’t! So how many lives, how many African-American lives, is it going to take for these officers in Fort Worth to say, 'You know what? Let’s look at our protocols. Let’s look at our procedures and let’s look within our department?’” Smith responded.

But other community leaders have asked people to wait for more information before passing judgment.

"We cannot get emotionally unhinged every time we have an incident of an officer that appears to ...  We don't even know all the facts," Fort Worth Rev. Kyev Tatum said. "And until we know the facts then we can't make an assessment."

This video shows graphic content and may be disturbing to some viewers.

What else?

Police arrested and charged Curry with public intoxication, resisting arrest, and evading arrest.

"We ask for your patience and calm during this investigative process," Fitzgerald said in the release.

Both officers involved remain on duty, according to police.

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