Community Groups; Attorney Demand Charges and More in George Floyd-style Death of Tarrant County Suspect in Tarrant County Jail

FORT WORTH – (WBAP/KLIF) – Tarrant County outrage concerning the George Floyd-style death of a 31 year old Tarrant County inmate held in the facility about 24 hours has community groups demanding a federal investigation into his death and the deaths of 62 other inmates in the facility since 2017.

Dallas attorney Daryl Washington for the family of the dead man, Anthony Johnson Jr., says a jail-wide sweep of all cells seeking contraband in the jail was resisted by Anthony when officers reached his jail cell. Video supplied to media shows several officers responding to that resistance, starting with Anthony visibly held by at least one officer, then punched at least twice with a balled up fist by another officer once they’d pulled him out to the walkway outside the cell. Anthony appears to begin to sink to the floor, when it’s then alleged Officer Rafael Moreno then placed his knee on the back of Anthony for 90 seconds, allegedly causing him to be unable to breathe. The video shown to media clearly demonstrates Anthony loudly yelling, “I can’t breathe”, which is followed by silence, and then, ultimately, his death. The video shown to media appears to show no other officers, though there were several closely surrounding the two key players – Moreno and Johnson Jr. – intervening with regard to the knee on his back , or in response to Anthony’s yell of “I can’t breathe”.

Washington also says the full video shown to the family – that released to the media is a much different and shorter version – clearly shows a Tarrant County jail officer with his knee on Johnson Jr’s back for the full, alleged, 90 seconds although he clearly yells loudly “I can’t breathe”. Washington says no charges have been filed against several other officers who “just stood there watching Anthony die”. Moreno was fired, as was his Lt. Joel Garcia. There appear to be no charges against any of the officers who did not intervene, despite the knee on the back for 90 seconds apparently causing the death of Anthony being strictly against Tarrant County Sheriff Department policy, as reiterated later by Sheriff Bill Waybourn in a news conference.

The death of 31 year old Anthony Johnson Jr. has raised anger and frustration with community groups and families of 62 other inmates who lost their lives in the Tarrant County Jail since 2017, many of whom Johnson asserts are still left without answers.

Washington wants to see the Justice Department investigate; currently an investigation is being done by state officials as well as the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department. Also sought; charges against the other involved officers, specialized response teams for the majority of the Tarrant County Jail inmates who are believed to have mental challenges such as Johnson Jr. is believed to have had, and Sheriff Bill Waybourn to turn over control of the jail to a private company. Some are also reported to be calling for Waybourn’s resignation. Washington and community groups state some 60% of those taken to the Tarrant County jail have mental challenges. Washington says the other 62 families whose loved ones died in the Tarrant County Jail since 2017 also remain without answers pertaining to their loved one’s deaths.

Tune in to WBAP News Talk 820 and FM at 93.3 at 7:17 AM Wednesday morning 05/22/2024 for discussion of the events involved with the attorney Daryl Washington, for the family of Johnson Jr., to hear more details; an invitation to Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn to follow in that discussion has been offered as well.

(Copyright, All Rights Reserved, WBAP/KLIF 2024)

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