The death of Sergeant James Brown in a Texas jail was an outrageous “torture operation,” author and US Army veteran Rory Fanning told RT. But the odds that police officers involved get indicted are very low, unless there are massive protests, he added.
A video obtained by KFOX14 has revealed aggressive force being
used by officers during Brown’s time in custody in 2012.
“He was clearly tortured. He was calling for help multiple
times throughout the video. There was certainly no need for riot
gear based on what we saw in the video. It was a torture
operation,” Fanning said.
Brown, 26, was an active-duty soldier at Fort Bliss, Texas, who
had served two tours of combat duty in Iraq and had no previous
criminal record. He self-reported to the El Paso County Jail in
July 2012 to serve a short sentence for driving while
“He should have been out in two days. He was upset that they
are keeping him for seven. It didn’t look like he was being
physical in the video, so this was at the very least a case of
excessive police brutality, resulting in murder,” Fanning
The incident happened overnight when Brown had an apparent
episode that caused him to start bleeding. When he stopped
communicating with the jail guard outside his cell, a team of
officers in riot gear were sent in. Brown was then pinned to the
The cause of death was “clearly suffocation,” Fanning
said. “There was nothing natural about the cause of death.
They used pepper spray, he pleaded for help, they refused medical
assistance when they should have administered it.” In the
video, Brown was heard repeatedly stating that he could not
breathe. He claimed he was choking on his own blood.
“It is particular injustice to this soldier who went
overseas, thought he was fighting for freedom and democracy, did
two tours in Iraq and then he comes home to be killed by fellow
Americans,” said Fanning, author of ‘Worth Fighting For’.
When it comes to justice, things remain unclear, according to the
former military man.
“It is very rare to see an indictment for a police officer
when they kill somebody… They clearly proven time and time again
they are incapable of investigating themselves in a just and
Public attention, protests and calls for justice are the main
drivers that could bring the indictment around, just like in the
case of Freddie Gray’s death, Fanning said. There is increasing
outrage over Brown’s death, particularly in veterans’ community,
and the incident has been trending on social media.
“We claim to support our troops in this country. Now it is
time to stand up for this soldier who was killed in police
custody. We have 22 veterans’ suicide a day in this country, too
often we turn our back on our soldiers when they come home,”
the author stressed.
Fanning decried the bad US record of police murders, with 900
people killed by police officers each year. In comparison to
other countries, the figures appear staggering, he added, citing
Iceland as an example, where the only police killing in 2013
caused national grief. The UK has seen only 54 police shootings
since 1990, and a total of 1,433 police-related deaths, including
those in custody or police pursuit, according to data compiled by
“It is outrageous and also very unsurprising … This is what
you can expect for a country that spends $700 billion a year on
its military, has basically eliminated due process around the
world in places like Guantanamo. These police officers who often
come back from serving in the military are used to treating
Race is also often an issue in the US. “African Americans are
10 times more likely to be arrested than their white
counterparts. They are eight times more likely to be killed by
the police,” Fanning stated.