Orlando Police Department responds to video of bloody scuffle

Cellphone video shared on social media shows fight between officer, homeless man

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando Police Department is investigating claims one of their officers attacked a homeless man, resulting in a bloody fight video being shared on social media.

Witnesses said Officer James Wilson and Terre Johnson, 44, started arguing in a vacant lot near the corner of Ossie Street and Parramore Avenue Wednesday afternoon.

"Him and Terre are standing on the edge of the road, face-to-face, talking and arguing, and all of a sudden, he just grabs Terre and slammed him into the ground," said one of the witnesses.

The cell phone video shows Officer Wilson straddling Johnson, pulling his hair and hitting him in the face.

It also shows Johnson trying to hit the officer.

More officers showed up to the scene and helped subdue Johnson, who was hospitalized and transferred to the Orange County Jail.

"All you are seeing is one small piece of an incident, and that is it," said Orlando police spokeswoman Sgt. Wanda Ford.

She told Local 6 Wilson's body camera captured the events that happened before the cell phone cameras started rolling.

She said it was Johnson who started attacking Wilson, and the officer was trying to subdue him and put him in handcuffs.

"This is one of those instances, where the suspect was aggressive. He's known to be aggressive. He's been arrested before for battery and for resisting against an officer," Ford said.

Ford said she also worries that people will see the snippet of fight video online and draw wrong conclusions about what happened.

Ford said the body camera video showing the events before the scuffle will be released to the public after investigators review them for the case against Johnson.

Johnson is being held in the Orange County Jail on $10,300 bond.

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