Police in Denton, Texas argued on Thursday that body camera footage justified their use of a Taser against a 26-year-old man during an encounter at a local motel, WFAA-TV reported.
The video shows an officer Tasing Marcus Coleman on Wednesday. Police said Coleman tried to push his way past the officer, but neither the camera footage nor footage posted online by a witness, 18-year-old Jeremy Jones, shows Coleman making contact. Instead, the body camera shows Coleman falling face-first onto the motel balcony railing before hitting the ground. He was arrested and accused of interfering with public duties.
Authorities released the body camera footage after Jones’ video describing the incident as “police brutality” was spread more than 11,000 times on Twitter.
“It was just a natural instinct,” Jones said. “It was just like, let me record it and get it on camera, in case something goes wrong.”
Jones’ 30-second video can be seen below:
— We Are Equal (@BTP_TACO) July 22, 2015
Police were at the motel responding to an indecent exposure call regarding an unidentified woman who was carrying a baby while in the nude. After covering the woman with a blanket, officers determined that she was in an “altered mental state.” Two officers can be seen trying to handcuff her in order to provide her medical attention.
At one point, the woman handed her three-month-old baby off to Coleman. But Coleman handed the child to another person before objecting to the officers’ tactics, telling them, “We’re just people. I’m innocent and you’re trying to shoot me,” and saying that she needed help.
While describing Coleman as a “good samaritan,” police said they ordered him more than 30 times to back away. The president of the Denton County chapter of the NAACP, Willie Hudspeth, said he dissuaded members from protesting after seeing the footage.
“I would have reacted the same way,” Hudspeth said of Coleman. “But he crossed the line when he refused to obey their commands.”
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that a 3-year-old boy came out of the woman’s motel room after the encounter “naked and wet.” Officers found that the shower inside was running with the hot water turned on. Both children were placed with Child Protective Services.
Watch WFAA’s report, as aired on Thursday, below.
[h/t The Free Thought Project]