ORLANDO, Fla. – The man at the center of a confrontation with Orlando police shared his side of the story with News 6.
An excessive force internal investigation is underway into Officer James Wilson after cellphone video from August showed him straddling Terre Johnson in the middle of the street, hitting him in the face.
[FULL VIDEO: Officer body camera footage released ]
Johnson told News 6's Erik Sandoval he was provoked and before he knew it, the officer had tackled him and sent both of them out into the street fighting in Parramore.
"I thought I was going to die because of the simple fact he put his hand around my neck," Johnson said.
The video shows Johnson fighting back, and because of that, he was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest, which landed him in jail for 44 days.
"I can't breathe. The only reason I hit him is because I could not breathe and I saw blood going down my face," Johnson said. "And that is when you see me strike the first blow."
Wilson's body camera shows what led up to the fight and both Wilson and Johnson can be seen trading barbs back and forth, arguing over a ticket the officer said he was going to write for sitting on the curb.
News 6 asked Johnson why he talked to the officer like that, to which he replied, "You don't just get respect because you have a badge. It's earned. You have to earn it by The way you treat the people in the community that you're supposed to be protecting."
None of the videos show Wilson tackling Johnson.
"What do you have to say to the Orlando police department?" News 6's Erik Sandoval asked.
"Nothing, except see you in court," Johnson replied.
Johnson's side of the story comes on the heels of an investigation conducted by the Orlando Sentinel, which found Orlando police officers have used some kind of force at least 3,100 times in the last five years.
Johnson says his encounter shows OPD has a problem that needs to be addressed.
"Do you think there needs to be a federal investigation of the Orlando Police Department?" News 6's Erik Sandoval asked.
"I hope by the time this is all over there will be," Johnson said. "Who's policing the police?"
OPD said most of their arrests are done peacefully and that crime is down. Police couldn't say anything about Johnson's claims, but do say their investigation into Wilson continues and they don't know when it will be completed.