Police, suspect struggle goes viral

Local

Video of Texarkana, Texas police arresting a man outside a convenience store late Monday night has gone viral. 

KTAL NBC 6 has obtained surveillance video from the store that night, as well.  The footage shows TTPD conducting a traffic stop.  Afterward, they turn their attention to Timothy Thurston, who’s walking across the parking lot.  Sgt. Geoff Lewis said the officer, “Observed a suspect in the parking lot yelling.”

But a moment after making contact, you can see Thurston in the video, walking away from the officer. The officer follows him.  Lewis said, “When the struggle ensued, there were several commands by the initial officer to place your  hands behind your back, the suspect didn’t do that, he kept his hands under him or tucked in.  That’s very important for us to see the suspect’s hands especially when we’re trying to place someone in custody because we don’t know if they have a weapon on them.”

Video taken from a bystander on Facebook shows another perspective of what happened.  You can see the officer hit Thurston.  Lewis said, “During that struggle, the officer did use a backhand strike one time and struck the suspect.  The suspect was given repeated commands to place his hands behind his back, he refused to follow those commands.”

What is also drawing attention in the Facebook video, is what the officer said to the man recording the incident.  The bystander is telling the officers they don’t have to assault the man on the ground.  You can also hear the arresting officer yelling at the bystander to back up and adds “you’re next!.”  When asked about the comment from the officer, Lewis said, “I believe what the officer was saying is he would be arrested.  He was close to the altercation, obviously they were still actively struggling with the suspect.  The suspect on the ground at the time was not in handcuffs.” 

TTPD said they have reviewed the situation and concluded the officer was justified in the force used. He is cleared of wrongdoing unless new evidence comes to light.  Lewis said, “In this case, once a suspect was handcuffed, no further force was used.  The officers simply stand him up.”

Thurston is charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest.  TTPD said no injuries were reported and Thurston has not filed any complaint regarding the struggle.  TTPD said Thurston has been arrested five times since March for public intoxication.  

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