Cell phone video released in deadly beating case


By the time the camera started recording, the fight is practically over. Johnny Hernandez is face down with Terry Thompson is on top of him and Thompson's arm around Hernandez's neck. Thompson's wife. a Harris County Sheriff's Office deputy, is pinning down Hernandez's  shoulder as his legs are flailing and he's moaning.

Attorney Jack Carroll says his client shot the cell phone camera footage but wants to remain out of the investigation.

“He doesn't know what is going to happen," said Jack Carroll. "It involves the police and a highly explosive issue.” He also said he has provided a copy of the video to the Harris County District Attorney's Office, but what does the video show? For much of it, there's a finger on the lens and a bystander blocking the view. It doesn't show how the fight started or ended, but Randall Kallinen, the attorney for the Hernandez family, said it does show that  Deputy Shauna Thompson did not protect and serve the public.

“She is trained in force tactics," said Kallinen. "She knows this is an illegal chokehold. She's right there looking at it. She had the obligation to stop her husband from killing John Hernandez.” 

The incident was reported on Sunday night. Surveillance video shows a visibly-intoxicated Hernandez leaving a Denny's restaurant in east Harris County. Thompson is seen approaching Hernandez and confronting him for urinating in the parking lot. The two men fight, but there is no way to determine from the video who started it. When it was over, Hernandez was taken to a hospital and Thompson walked free.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has called for the U.S. Department of Justice and the Texas Rangers to oversee the investigation. Activists hope the cell phone video released on Monday becomes part of it.

“We feel like the Sheriff and the District Attorney should  take a second look and look at this video because I think it's the basis for an indictment,” said Augiustine Pineda with LULAC.

The district attorney's office and the sheriff’s office will not comment any further until the investigation is complete.