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Family of Anthony Johnson Jr. outraged after Tarrant County sheriff releases video from in-custody death

Tarrant County Sherriff's office releases six minutes of video from Anthony Johnson death investigat
Tarrant County Sherriff's office releases six minutes of video from Anthony Johnson death investigat 02:31

FORT WORTH — Anthony Johnson Jr's family is outraged after watching a video of his last moments alive inside Tarrant County jail.

The family said they saw an extended version of what was released to CBS News Texas during a news conference Thursday.

Sheriff Bill Waybourn showed nearly six minutes of video involving Johnson at the jail.

Anthony Johnson Jr.

"So we were looking for contraband and other things that are not supposed to be in there," Waybourn said. "That was the mission that morning."

The sheriff said employees found a shank and a razor in the 31-year-old's cell. He said when they tried to get the Marine veteran to come out, the situation became combative.

Security video shows at least six employees wrestling with Johnson atop a second floor inside the jail. He even got pepper-sprayed.

"The officers testified that he had superhuman strength," Waybourn said.

GoPro video is, typically, what employees use to document the instances. But in Johnson's case, the sheriff said Lt. Joel García was recording on his county phone.

The cell phone video reveals Officer Rafael Moreno running up the steps to a mix of employees who had Johnson on the ground. According to Waybourn, he was restrained. As employees moved back and called for leg restraints, Moreno kneeled on Johnson's back.

"I can't breathe," Johnson said in the video.

Johnson's outcry came six minutes after Moreno took a knee on his back. The officer was on his back in the video for nearly 90 seconds.

Waybourn said Johnson became unresponsive. He said his staff should have had medical staff come upstairs, but they took Johnson, which may have delayed treatment.

Nearly a month later, Waybourn said Moreno, a nine-year veteran with the sheriff's office, was terminated for using a technique against TCSO policy. Garcia was fired, too, because the sheriff said he was in charge.

"Two individuals that we terminated were being held accountable because they violated the policy," Waybourn said. "And it was below the standards of the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office."

Johnson's family said they saw more video of Johnson with the medical staff. His mother, Jacqualyne Johnson, said that the two terminations were not pleasing.

Tarrant County Sheriff's Office

"There are at least six more that should be held accountable," she said. "The medical staff should also be held accountable."

The family said Johnson was having a mental health crisis. His father, Anthony Johnson Sr., said he didn't want to be insulting, but they had to live with the reality of what they saw. He said no one understands that part.

"All I see was glorified security guards watching people — glorified babysitters [is] how I would justify their behaviors for standing there and watching them," he said. "I have dogs that know better."

The family wants criminal charges. In the meantime, their attorney, Daryl Washington, said the jail should make video accessible to families sooner.

As for what happened at the jail, Washington said the sheriff is responsible, too.

"He's trying to allege that these officers weren't acting pursuant to policy," he argued. "So what we have now is he is trying to blame everyone, and he is the person who is in charge."

The Texas Rangers are conducting the investigation, which will be handed over to the district attorney for review.

Johnson's cause of death has not yet been determined.

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