A recent incident in which a man was arrested by Fort Worth police on drug charges after a slow-speed car chase, led to disciplinary action against two police officers.
The Dallas Morning News reported how Joe Gonzales, 42, led police on a slow-speed chase that lasted almost two hours through Tarrant County, until a SWAT vehicle rammed his car in Arlington.
Officer Brian Gentry was removed from active duty and stripped of his gun and badge while the Fort Worth Police Department looked into whether he used excessive force against Gonzales, reported NBC 5.
In the video recorded from Chopper 5, the officer appeared to strike Gonzales twice with the butt-end of a tear gas launcher as he climbed out of his car following the crash with the SWAT vehicle.
The TV channel reported comments of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association that Gentry will return to the SWAT team after being placed on restricted duty. The police department said a preliminary investigation had found there was no excessive force used by any officer involved in the incident. A second officer, Dennis Alice, remains under an internal investigation, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The slow-speed car chase took place on May 27, 2015. The pursuit policy of the Fort Worth Police Department does not allow officers to pass or block a fleeing car, so they took part in a slow chase as the car went over curbs and weaved through traffic. “But after Gonzales drove the wrong way on an exit ramp and picked up speed, they’d had enough,” reported the Dallas Morning News.
The SWAT vehicle hit Gonzles’ car, pushing it into a median before heavily armed officers arrived at the vehicle, breaking the windows and pulling the suspect to the pavement.
Gonzales was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries. He faces charges of evading arrest in a vehicle and possession of more than 400 grams of a controlled substance.
Complaints against police officers are not uncommon in Texas. Last year the Dallas Morning Newsreported that Dallas resident, David Blair, was suing the city and two police officers alleging they shot at him with no reason. The lawsuit filed in Dallas federal court asks for unspecified damages.
In 2013, disciplinary action was taken against a Dallas police officer after an internal affairs investigation concluded he had ben untruthful in his account of the shooting of a mentally ill man.
Police officers tread a fine line but over the last year high profile situations in Baltimore, New York, Ferguson, Missouri and Waco, Texas all have highlighted the dangers of using unacceptable force.