An investigation into police brutality in Denton, Texas has resulted in the jailer losing his job. An Internal Affairs investigation found that the jailer identified as Darious Porter used excessive force by committing a leg sweep on Jason Wayne Bishop, a suspect accused of public intoxication. The investigation found that Porter acted outside of the acceptable use of force according to the police department’s guidelines.
Events surrounding the case began early on Saturday, July 19, 2014. The 38-year-old Bishop was arrested by Officer Clinton Webb on Fry Street, near the Pita Pit and Crooked Crust, and police allege that he was publicly intoxicated. Public intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor according to the city’s laws. Although Bishop admits to having consumed vodka before the cops approached him, he claims to have been drinking a Pita Pit Raspberry Sprite at the time that he was arrested.
At the city jail, Bishop followed advice given to him by an attorney during a previous free consultation. Bishop says that he was warned not to sign anything that the police gave him because it could be used against him later. Police allege that Bishop also engaged in verbal confrontation towards Porter during the jailing process, and they claim that Bishop refused to follow what they described as basic instructions. Bishop was carried to his cell by Porter and another jailer identified as Spandan Desai. The department alleges that Porter began a take-down maneuver at this time, during which he committed the leg sweep.
The leg sweep resulted in Bishop hitting his head on the concrete of his cell. Porter attempted to stop the bleeding, according to police reports, until the medics arrived to treat Bishop’s injuries. Medics took Bishop out of the jail on a stretcher and transported him to the hospital. Officer Rynan Grelle, who serves as a spokesman for the department, says that Bishop did sign a ticket at the hospital so that he could obtain medical treatment and not have to return to the jail. Bishop alleges that he continues to suffer from vision damages resulting from the incident.
Social Media Awareness
After being released from the hospital, friends of Bishop uploaded a YouTube video that clearly demonstrated the extent of his injuries. This video was the beginning of the “Justice for Jason” campaign that has become popular on many social media websites. Students at the UNT campus have been particularly active in the campaign, and Bishop claims that thousands of strangers have contacted him through the social media campaign to offer their support.
Police Department’s Response
The police department initially placed Porter on paid suspended leave while they conducted their investigation. When contacted during the investigation, the department was quick to point out Bishop’s lengthy past arrest record with the department. Ultimately, their investigation concluded at the end of July and found that Porter was the only officer who had used excessive force. All other officers in the case were cleared of any wrong-doing.