Video of an altercation outside of a Houston Denny’s last month shows a young father helpless as a sheriff’s deputy and her husband hold him down in an apparent chokehold.
John Hernandez, 24, pictured below, died three days later after being taken off life support.
Multiple witnesses have provided video to news outlets showing Terry Thompson, the husband of Harris County Sheriff’s deputy, on top of Hernandez, appearing to have him in a chokehold. Thompson’s wife, the off-duty sheriff’s deputy, is by his side and appears to be helping hold Hernandez down.
WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT
According to Click2Houston, the confrontation took place on May 28 when Thompson reportedly arrived to the Denny’s with his children and found Hernandez outside of the restaurant, allegedly urinating.
Thompson then confronted Hernandez, and a verbal altercation turned physical. None of the witness video or surveillance video captures the moment Hernandez was pinned to the ground, of what immediately led to the extreme violence.
A witness who did not want to be identified released an up-close video of the confrontation through his attorney, Jack Carroll. The video appears to show that Hernandez was barely mobile while Thompson was on top of him. Two people tell the person taking the video to stop recording, and one, believed to be Thompson’s daughter, stands in front of the camera, attempting to block the view.
“I was pretty shocked. It’s a very sad video. You’re watching a man basically being killed,” Carroll told ABC 13. “He was kicking his legs in a helpless fashion, and you could hear him gargling just begging to stop.”
A second witness video is taken from somewhat further away but also shows Thompson overpowering Hernandez.
The victim was reportedly motionless by the time paramedics arrived. A family member told ABC News that Hernandez left behind a three-year-old child.
An eyewitness told ABC News that Hernandez appeared to be drunk when he was inside the restaurant before the confrontation.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told Click2Houston he has launched an investigation into Hernandez’s death, and has enlisted the help of the Texas Rangers and the Department of Justice in investigating Hernandez’s death.
At this time, no charges have been filed. According to Fox 26, Hernandez’s family is fearful of speaking out because no arrests have been made and it is unclear if anyone will be arrested.
Photo: Click2Houston video screenshot