DENTON — Police officers’ body camera videos released Thursday prevented protests that had been planned over a Denton incident in which police restrained a woman and used a Taser on a man, an NAACP official said.

DENTON — Police officers’ body camera videos released Thursday prevented protests that had been planned over a Denton incident in which police restrained a woman and used a Taser on a man, an NAACP official said.

Willie Hudspeth, president of the Denton County NAACP, said Thursday that protests were planned after residents saw a separate video shot by a teenager and posted on Twitter late Wednesday. The woman and the man were African-American and the officers were white.

The officer’s body camera video shows an officer commanded Marcus Coleman to back away 30 times Wednesday afternoon during the incident at a Denton motel. He refused and tried to get past police before an officer used his Taser, the body camera video shows.

The woman was handcuffed because officers feared she was going to jump over a balcony railing, police said Thursday.

"The officers believed she was in an altered state because of possible alcohol or drugs," said Denton police spokesman Ryan Grelle during a news conference on Thursday to release the department’s body camera videos.

"I got a call from people wanting to demonstrate," said Hudsepth, who attended the news conference. "I came down and before I saw the videos, I thought if something had gone wrong, we would have started demonstrations. But this time the officers worked it out. They did it proper."

Grelle said the police department just started requiring officers to wear the body cameras earlier this year, so the release to show the community what happened was a first for the department.

The private video shot and posted on Twitter by Jeremy Jones, 18, of Dallas showed just a few seconds of the woman screaming and the officer using his Taser on Coleman. Jones told the Star-Telegram Wednesday that he shot the video as he walked past the motel, heard a woman screaming from a balcony and saw two officers trying to restrain her.

Jones said he was visiting his brother, who lives in an apartment near the motel.

The body camera videos, which lasted several minutes, show the officers arriving on the scene. Department policy calls for officers to turn on their body cameras as soon as contact is made on a call.

Police said they were dispatched to the motel at 700 Fort Worth Drive on an indecent exposure call. The caller said a naked woman was carrying a baby outside, Grelle said in a statement emailed Wednesday.

Three officers found the woman on the second floor balcony wrapped in a blanket and the baby in the arms of an "unknown male" later identified as Coleman, 26. After officers tried to determine what was going on they realized the woman was in an "altered mental state," according to a news release. They tried to handcuff her so she could be checked out by medical personnel.

As she resisted, Coleman gave the infant to someone else and tried to interfere, according to police. In the body camera videos, he is waving his arms as he yells at police, uses profanity and says "I’m innocent" and "I’m trying to help her."

The woman, still struggling with the officer, can be heard screaming, "Someone help me, please!"

The officer tells Coleman 30 times to "back up" before he moves toward the officer, who then uses his Taser, which knocks Coleman down.

Coleman, 26, was arrested and accused of interfering with public duties.

The woman was put on a stretcher to be taken to a local hospital for evaluation. She has not been arrested or charged with any crime.

While police were still on the scene, a 3-year-old boy came out of their motel room "naked and wet," Grelle said. Police found the shower on with the hot water running, Grelle said.

Paramedics determined that the 3-month baby and the 3-year-old were OK, he said. The children were in the care of state Child Protective Services Thursday.

The woman and Coleman apparently did not know each other, Grelle said Thursday.

Hudspeth described Coleman as a "good Samaritan."

"On the video, I could hear that woman yelling and screaming, and he wanted to know what the officers were doing to her," Hudspeth said. "I would have reacted the same way, but he crossed the line when he refused to obey their commands."

Hudspeth said members of the Denton County chapter of the NAACP and LULAC began meeting with police chiefs in the county in January to prepare for racial tensions.

"After Ferguson, everyone asked, ‘What are we going to do?’ if it happens in Denton County," Hudspeth said.

He said a campaign called Kids First Program was established in which officers and local leaders meet with high school students to talk about issues.

"What to do? We talk," Hudspeth said Thursday. "We determined that it was very important to talk about the situation as it happens."

Staff writer Monica Nagy contributed to this report.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763

Twitter: @mingoramirezjr


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