Courts

Dallas Grand Jury Declines to Indict Popular Deep Ellum Cop for Using Excessive Force

A Deep Ellum beat cop, backed by his community and fellow officers but fired by the Dallas Police Department, will not face criminal charges after an arrest of an aggressive panhandler resulted in a claim he used excessive force.

See also: Fired Deep Ellum Cop Jesus Martinez Gets Outpouring of Support at Council Meeting

Jesus Martinez was fired in December for "using his right knee to pin the pedestrian's right elbow down while raising the pedestrian's left elbow and hand upward causing him severe pain," according to DPD. The incident was recorded by a bystander as it happened in June 2014.

Martinez said that before the video was shot, Joe Wesson, the man he arrested, took a swing at him. Martinez pepper sprayed Wesson and ended up with some of the spray in his own eyes, he said. Witnesses said there was no fight.

Deep Ellum responded to Martinez's firing with T-shirts, signs and marches supporting the officer. Residents lauded his involvement with the community and said Wesson was a consistent menace. On December 10, Martinez supporters filled the Dallas City Council chambers, demanding the City Manager AC Gonzalez give him his job back. Three council members -- Scott Griggs, Philip Kingston and Adam Medrano -- met the pro-Martinez crowd in "Jesus Is My Homeboy" T-shirts featuring Martinez.

Gonzalez didn't take any action at the time, but now that Martinez has been cleared, he will appeal for reinstatement. The hearing's set for two weeks from now.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young