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Dallas paramedic on leave after video shows him kicking homeless man in head

Brad Cox was placed on administrative leave while the fire department investigates. But it's not the first time he was accused of bad behavior.

DALLAS — A Dallas paramedic is on administrative leave after video surfaced of him kicking a homeless man in the head. 

But it’s not the first time he’s been in trouble. As WFAA found out, he’s got a history of disciplinary issues during his time with the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department.

It goes back to August 2019, when paramedic Brad Cox, along with other firefighters, were responding to a grassfire on Lone Star Drive. 

Cox said he believed a homeless man named Kyle Vess started the fire. You can hear his explanation on the body camera footage from sheriff’s deputies at the scene.  

“He was going up the service road and he sat right here in front of the engine somewhere, so I got out to kick it out while it was small before it got big, and that’s when he got up and charged,” said Cox. 

Dallas police and sheriff’s deputies responded to arrest Vess, but before they could take him into custody, in the bodycam video you can hear and see fireman Cox tell Vess to get up. Then, Cox kicks Vess in the head.

Officers tased Vess and eventually, arrested him. Defense attorney George Milner now represents him.

”The fact remains, Mr. Cox basically bludgeoned my client, sent him to Parkland Hospital and kicked him with a firefighter boot,” Milner told WFAA.

According to police public integrity documents of the incident, "Vess had a black eye to his right eye, bloody nose, multiple fractures to his face and a swollen right ankle.”

Milner added what he is also troubled by is Cox is a trained Mixed Martial Arts fighter.

"The fireman says very clearly, 'come on, get up' again, and challenges him to a fight,” Milner accused.

Dallas police investigated the incident and cleared Cox of any criminal wrongdoing. The detective determined there were not enough elements for a crime.

But it’s not the first time Cox has been investigated while with Dallas Fire-Rescue. 

In 2016, Cox and another firefighter were investigated for an incident involving another homeless man named Hirschell Fletcher. 

Dallas police called paramedics to the scene. You hear the officer on his dash camera video saying, “you have DFR coming. This guy has a head injury.”

But, according to court documents, when paramedics arrived, they "assumed [Fletcher] was drunk and began harassing and openly laughing at him as Fletcher sat on the sidewalk in pain.” 

In the dash camera video obtained by WFAA, you can hear them laughing as Fletcher tries to spell his name in the background. It was used as evidence in the case.

”My eyes are burning,” said Fletcher, as the paramedics laugh at him.

”We don’t need people like that on our streets,” Milner said. 

According to court documents, Fletcher has schizophrenia and a speech impediment. A Dallas police report stated he had just been robbed, “assaulted and punched in the head, causing him to fall and hit his head on a wall.”

Fletcher was taken to jail instead of the hospital for treatment. Court records show he died of a "slow brain bleed caused by his head injuries."

The paramedics were not held criminally responsible for his death but were indicted for “falsifying a report to cover up his failure to render aid at the scene." Cox, ultimately, pleaded guilty and received 12 months’ probation.

”He falsified a fire department record stating the police have the man in custody and he couldn’t transport to the hospital - well, that was a lie and that was shown on the video,” said Milner.

Dallas Fire-Rescue did not comment because of pending lawsuits involving both these incidents. Cox’s attorney also declined to comment.

After four years, two investigations and the video going public, Cox was recently placed on administrative leave while the fire department investigates.