Videos of Hospital Arrest Show Texas Officer Lied to Grand Jury - NBC Bay Area
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Videos of Hospital Arrest Show Texas Officer Lied to Grand Jury

The videos will likely play a key role in both the lawsuit, and the criminal case

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    Videos Show Indicted FW Officer Punching Man in Face

    An indicted Fort Worth police officer punched a man in the face who had just been discharged from the hospital after the man called him "bro," according to videos of the incident obtained by NBC 5. (Published Wednesday, March 21, 2018)

    An indicted Fort Worth police officer punched a patient who had just been discharged from the hospital after the man called him "bro," according to videos of the incident obtained by NBC 5.

    Officer Jon Romer has been charged with official oppression, making a false report to police and lying to a grand jury, after the November 2016 arrest of Henry Newson. 

    Several videos obtained by NBC 5 show security officers at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital tracking Newson with surveillance cameras.

    Newson, who was 20 at the time, had just spent two days in the hospital after being treated for a stomach ailment and was waiting in the lobby for his mother to pick him up.

    "I'm just trying to figure out what you're doing," a security officer asked him.

    Newson said he was waiting for a ride from his mother.

    The conversation escalated as the officer continued to question him.

    Romer, who was working private security for the hospital at the time, approached moments later and immediately confronted Newson, video shows.

    "Hey get off the phone. Shut up. Get off the phone. Let's go," Romer is heard saying in the video.

    The officer then places his hand on Newson's chest and pushes him backward, seeming to take offense when Newson called him "bro."

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    "Bro?" Romer asks before he punches Newson in the face, grabs him around the neck, and forces him to the ground.

    Hospital security officers can then be seen piling on, surveillance video shows.

    Newson was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and trespassing. He spent two days in jail.

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    He is now suing the city and the hospital.

    "He doesn't resist, he doesn't fight back," said Newson's attorney, Matthew Bobo. "It was fast. It was violent and there was nothing that would have indicated that that should have happened or was going to happen. But it happened immediately. And there was no provocation by Mr. Newson."

    Prosecutors dropped the case against Newson in March 2017, according to court records.

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    A special prosecutor was appointed in January. Romer was indicted earlier this month for official oppression and lying to a grand jury. The department suspended him the same day.

    The perjury charge stems from a statement Romer made to the grand jury in which he alleged Newson was under arrest before the officer punched him.

    Surveillance video footage contradicts Romer's statement and shows that Newson was already on the ground when he told him he was under arrest.

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    Newson's attorney questioned why the police department took no action.

    "The first time somebody ever saw that video, they should have put him on a desk, taken him off," Bobo said. "They should have terminated him, quite frankly. I mean, period."

    But Romer remained on the street until December, and the department didn't take his gun and badge until two weeks ago -- the day he was indicted.

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    The videos will likely play a key role in both the lawsuit, and the criminal case.

    The videos continued to roll until Newson was taken to jail.

    At one point, while in custody waiting, Newson can be heard asking to call his mom. Romer tells him he didn't need to speak to his mother because he was 20 years old.

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    "I do need my mom," Newson says, video shows. "She's coming to pick me up. That's the whole point I was here. I did not expect to get attacked by a cop."

    Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital declined to comment, citing the pending lawsuit.

    Romer's attorney, Lance Wyatt, did not return a call seeking comment.