DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Officer Jesus Martinez was charged with official oppression and fired from his job with the Dallas Police Department in November for what Chief David Brown considered to be excessive force. Video showed how Martinez pinned a suspected panhandler to the ground.
The incident happened back in June, and was caught on video by someone passing by with a cell phone.
Martinez was allegedly attacked by the suspect, and was holding him on the ground until backup could arrive. But that video shows the suspect face-down and handcuffed, as Martinez raises his left elbow up until it touches the back of his head, causing the suspect to scream.
The suspect was later charged with resisting arrest.
An internal investigation concluded that Martinez used unnecessary force during the incident. However, several people in Dallas disagree. The former officer's supporters hit the streets on Wednesday morning to make their voices heard.
The Deep Ellum Community Association and three police labor groups united to urge the Dallas City Council to try and get Martinez his job back. Roughly 150 people marched from the Dallas Police Association's headquarters to Dallas City Hall on Wednesday morning to protest the firing.
Deep Ellum residents said that the suspect is a known panhandler in the area, and that his arrest was warranted. They added that the video is incomplete, and does not show the suspect aggressively interrupting a solemn memorial service.
"He wasn't given a thorough investigation," explained DPA president Ron Pinkston on Wednesday morning. "There are witnesses out there that they didn't talk to. They should have canvassed the neighborhood and found out if there were any other witnesses that observed what occurred."
Martinez's supporters are also trying to support the former officer financially, and with legal aid. They want to see him cleared of all charged and re-instated to the police force. "Honestly, this is not just about getting Jesus Martinez back. It's beyond that," stated Deep Ellum resident Stephanie Johnson. "We want people to start forming alliances with their officers."
The Dallas City Council cannot directly re-instate Martinez, but they could put pressure on the city manager or Brown to reconsider the termination.
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