Occupy arrest opens review of Fort Worth officer's actions

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by CASEY NORTON

WFAA

Posted on December 12, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 12 at 7:07 PM

FORT WORTH — A Fort Worth police officer's actions are under review after an arrest at the Occupy Fort Worth site in Burnett Park last Thursday.

Video of the arrest posted on YouTube shows a confrontation between Officer R. Frias and protester Anthony Momentoff.

Frias was part of a detail enforcing code restrictions and confiscating signs from the public park. At one point in the video, Momentoff picks up his chair and swings it around to put it on a pile of cardboard signs.

An American flag attached to the chair strikes the officer in the face. The video then shows Frias grabbing the flagpole and possibly striking Momentoff.

Later in the video, Momentoff says he was hit in the face.

Momentoff was arrested for assault of a public servant. He was out of jail on Monday, but did not respond to requests for an interview.

Fort Worth police said Frias has been with the department since March 2006. Police spokesman Sgt. Pedro Criado said the "incident is under review for potential violations of policy and procedure." He added the review would take several days to complete.

A protester who identified himself only as "Kevin" told News 8: "I still say the flag didn't even touch the officer, but maybe it was just a brush on the nose. Officer Frias ripped that flag out of the chair and hit him straight in the face with it."

Occupy protesters at the park on Monday said Momentoff has been arrested twice since the sit-in started in October. Police records show he was also cited on December 7 for code violations. He also has previous arrests for possession of marijuana and resisting arrest.

Momentoff's arrest photo shows a bruise below his left eye. Protesters were not sure if that bruise was there before Thursday's arrest.

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

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