Denton, TX – The University of North Texas Police Department (UNTPD) has released video footage of a 19-year-old student’s arrest, after a viral cell phone video led to accusations that the officers had choked him as he was having a seizure (video below).
The cell phone video was posted to Twitter by Carissa Simpson on Jan. 22, The Dallas Morning News reported.
“Always record the police if ur white,” she captioned the post.
Simpson told the paper she immediately began recording when she heard someone inside the police cruiser say, “Stop choking me.”
“Stop. Calm down,” an officer said in the video, as he leaned into the back of the car.
The suspect’s foot then shot out of the vehicle and began twitching.
The officers asked Simpson to step back from the cruiser, at which point she argued that she was “not interfering whatsoever.”
“Don’t f–king touch me!” she told an officer at one point, as she continued to jockey for a position to continue recording the suspect inside the patrol car. “I would like to be able to see what’s going on, too!”
The man, later identified as 19-year-old UNT student Peyton Ryan Long, noticed Simpson recording, and managed to yell out his Twitter handle, “
“Please help me!” he said. “I have 10,000 Twitter followers.”
Simpson posted the video to Twitter, where she also claimed to have saved Long from the police.
“I started recording because the guy kept yelling ‘stop choking me’ and as soon as they saw me recording they got off of him,” she wrote.
The video has been viewed over two million times, and caused some people to criticize the officers for allegedly choking a man who was allegedly having a seizure.
On Thursday, UNT Police Chief Ed Reynolds released 39 minutes of in-car camera footage of Long’s arrest, and issued a statement addressing the video Simpson posted to social media.
“A bystander posted cellphone video to Twitter that misrepresents the professional actions our officers took to prevent the suspect from seriously harming himself,” Chief Reynolds said. “The video…from the transporting officer’s vehicle provides a more comprehensive depiction of the scene.”
Portions of the audio in the video were redacted to protect Long’s rights, he added.
The incident occurred after police received “multiple reports” of thefts that were taking place at the Willis Library on the UNT campus.
Officers responded to the scene, and ultimately arrested Long on the top level of the Union Circle Garage, Chief Reynolds explained.
“After the suspect was secured in the back of the police vehicle for transport to county jail, he began to repeatedly strike his head against the safety cage,” the chief said. “Two officers physically restrained the suspect in an effort to prevent serious self-harm.”
The in-car camera showed Long as he violently struck his head against the cage in front of him, then whined that the officer had “choked him out.”
“I don’t know what I did!” he wailed.
One officer told him not to hit his head anymore, and that he was going to make the situation worse.
“I’m gonna do it,” he cried. “What happens if I hit my head again? Am I gonna get in more trouble? Why?”
Long then tried to bite the officers, so they “grasped the suspect below his jaw to control his head movements and prevent him from biting,” the statement read.
Chief Reynolds noted that Long’s “airway remained clear as he continued to talk to the officers.”
“Why do you keep choking me?” Long asked in the video.
A moment later, he “began to shake his entire body, mimicking the symptoms of a seizure,” the chief continued. “Based upon the officers’ experience and training as emergency first responders, the suspect appeared to be faking the seizure.”
Long told the officers that he grabbed someone else’s backpack by mistake, and that he never intended to steal it, the video showed.
As an officer began transporting him to jail, Long again slammed his head off of the cage, causing her to pull over to speak with him yet again, the video showed.
Long was taken to the Denton County Jail, where officers requested medical assistance.
“City of Denton EMS medically evaluated and cleared him before releasing him to jail staff,” Chief Reynolds added.
Long was also the subject of an outstanding Euless criminal mischief warrant at the time of his arrest, The Dallas Morning News reported.
He has since been charged with theft, and was released on bond shortly after he arrived at the jail facility.
Simpson alleged that police are lying about what occurred.
“In the vid u can see him being choked, cops really need 2 be trained on how to deal with mentally ill ppl,” Simpson wrote in a later post. “His seizure/blacking out looked very real 2 me but of course y’all would say it looks fake 2 cover up. i still stand by my actions, i know i did the right thing by recording.”
She said she did not know Long prior to the incident, but that she spoke with him after he was released from jail and he told her that he “blacked out” while he was supposedly being choked, The Dallas Morning News reported.
“I cant believe people are in my mentions defending the cops when a student is literally being choked on film. y’all are so brainwashed and delusional i feel so bad for u guys,” Simpson tweeted on Thursday.
She tossed in allegations that the incident would have likely been more severe if Long wasn’t white.
“All im sayin is im glad he was white because who knows what would’ve happened if he were a poc,” she wrote. “Im very glad i was there because the officer stopped touching him once he saw me recording. always hold cops accountable & always use ur privilege if u have it.”
Long later tweeted that he was “no victim,” and admitted to having intentionally hit his head off of the patrol car cage.
“However, there is no excuse for the choking during the video or the physical altercation right after,” he declared.
His “10,000 Twitter followers” turned out to be just over 1,100 followers as of Sunday morning, and most who commented on Long’s encounter with police seemed to back the officers.
Many pointed out that Long tried to bite the officers, while others noted that police were trying to stop him from self-harm.
“Maybe don’t steal s–t from cars and you won’t end up in the back of a police car,” one follower suggested. “Oh, nevermind, you would’ve been there anyway due to prior warrants. Perfect username.”
Others doubted that his “seizure” was real.
“You don’t just have a seizure and sit upright half a minute later,” one follower wrote. “Quit playing the victim.”
“Yeah, sure. I’m totally gonna believe a guy who just yelled his twitter name and then slammed his head on metal while being arrested.”
Another user called Long’s antics “pathetic,” and said that the officers wouldn’t have had to restrain him if he hadn’t thrown a fit in the car.
“All you did was try to get out of going to prison,” one post read. “Stop spreading these bulls–t lies.”
You can watch the viral video and the UNTPD’s in-car camera footage in the links below: