Harris County, TX — Terry Thompson, a 41-year-old Harris County man choked another man to death at a local Denny’s Sunday night. But Thompson, the husband of a Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy, has still not been charged with any crime. Now, dramatic footage of the fight has emerged, and we must warn you, it is extremely graphic.
John Hernandez, 24, was drunk when he went to the restaurant Sunday night, his family told reporters. From the surveillance video, a wobbly Hernandez can be seen entering the restaurant. He sat down but got up to leave the establishment, over the objections of his wife who pleaded for him to stay.
The drunken man then reportedly relieved himself outside the front entrance, apparently in front of the deputy and her husband. Taking umbrage with the grown man peeing in the parking lot, the deputy’s husband confronted Hernandez about his actions.
According to the Thompson, he claims the drunken Hernandez struck him and started a fight which ended when the deputy’s husband reportedly choked the man unconscious. The off-duty deputy helped restrain Hernandez and noticed he wasn’t breathing.
She started CPR and waited for paramedics to arrive. After on-duty police arrived, surprisingly, the deputy’s husband was not charged with assault, involuntary manslaughter, manslaughter, or even murder.
Hernandez was transported to the hospital by ambulance, was placed into intensive care, but was taken off of life support. He later died.
Following Hernandez’ death, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez asked for the Texas Rangers and the Department of Justice to become involved in the investigation. Since Hernandez’ passing, dramatic cell phone footage has emerged which appears to have recorded the moments leading up to his fatal injuries.
From the video, the large man in a red tank top (deputy’s husband) can be seen seemingly choking Hernandez to the point which led to his demise. Bystanders, apparently realizing what was taking place, attempted to step in front of the camera as the man can be seen rendering Hernandez incapacitated.
Thompson can be heard telling Hernandez, “Do you want me to hit you again?” Panic can be heard in the young lady’s voice standing nearby when she notices someone is recording the incident.
Thompson does not appear to be attempting to kill Hernandez, only subdue him, but his weight, combined with the choke, likely contributed to Hernandez fatal injuries.
One man, dressed in what appears to be biker attire, threatened the person recording the attack with going to jail and continued to step in front of the camera.
No one, in the 52-second video, can be seen attempting to break up the fight, appearing to be more concerned with the fact someone was recording the encounter than fearful someone may be dying beneath Thompson’s weight.
The biker declared the lady to Thompson’s side to be a Sheriff’s deputy and insisted recording was illegal and the videographer would go to jail if he/she continued.
The video was presented to the Hernandez family’s attorney who is now demanding answers and accountability. “This clearly showed Terry Thompson choking and eventually killing John Hernandez,” said Randall Kallinen, the family’s attorney.
While the deputy’s and her husband’s actions on the outside looking in seem justified, the question remains as to whether or not a double standard is at work.
Was the knowledge Mr. Thompson is the spouse of a deputy a factor in the decision not to charge him with involuntary manslaughter? Would he have been arrested if she weren’t an officer of the law?
These questions and more remain as the Harris County Sheriff’s office must now come face to face with the reality one of their own deputy’s relatives killed a drunk man at a Denny’s restaurant and has yet to be charged.
The Free Thought Project will continue to follow this story and inform our readers as it unfolds.
— Kevin Quinn (@imkevinquinn) June 5, 2017