Fort Worth, Texas police officer, Jon Preston Romer Jr. has been fired after a grand jury found him guilty of using excessive force on Henry Newson and then lying about the encounter.
The charges brought against Romer stem from an incident that occurred on November 5, 2016 at the Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital. Romer and another officer approached Newson because they suspected him of trespassing in the hospital. According to the lawsuit, Romer hit Newson in the face, kicked him and then put him in a headlock, taking him to the ground. Then, he and two other men the lawsuit named as hospital security guards Jeremy Flores and Jonathan Walterbach, piled on top of Newson and punched, kicked and handcuffed him while sitting on his head.
According to the lawsuit, Newson did not resist the officers and begged them to stop hurting him. He was arrested on charges of resisting arrest and criminal trespass, with Romer listed on the police report as the reporting officer. The charges were dismissed in March 2017, according to court documents.
Newton said in court that he was waiting at the hospital for his mother to pick him up when Romer approached him and put his hands on him. Newson said he did not touch the officer.
Romer maintained that Newson was resisting arrest by tensing his muscles, spinning 180 degrees and planting his feet firmly.
The trail that began last week only focused on the charge of aggravated perjury against Romer. He was accused of lying to the grand jurors about whether he told Newson he was under arrest for resisting before he punched him.
Romer will be tried separately on official oppression and making a false report in connection with the 2016 encounter with Newson.
Grand jurors asked Romer repeatedly why they could not hear him telling Newson he was under arrest in the videos they reviewed.
Romer told the grand jurors that he was sure that he said it and that he could not help them understand why they didn’t hear it on the video.
Romer’s bond was revoked and he will be jailed until his sentencing. He could face between two and 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,100.
Though the verdict was not directly connected to the hospital fray, Newson, 23, said the conviction was justice.
“I’m glad that people just looked over it and kind of like disregarded the badge and just looked at him as a regular person. He kind of got treated like everybody else.”
It is unclear when the trials for the other charges will begin.