Dallas firefighter Brad Cox, who kicked a male inmate in 2019, has been placed on administrative leave


Following reports that he kicked an inmate in August 2019, firefighter Brad Cox was placed on administrative leave last week, Dallas Fire-Rescue said.

DFR would not confirm the reason for Cox’s administrative leave or say if he is still paid.

Asked about details, DFR spokesperson Jason Evans said via email: “Discussing the reasons for changing a member’s employment status is a personnel matter. However, I am unable to confirm the information you are requesting.

Last week the Observer posted body camera footage that appeared to show Cox kicking a mentally ill man named Kyle Vess as he sat on the floor. The Dallas Police Department conducted a Public Integrity Unit investigation into Cox’s actions, found no wrongdoing, and closed the case in November 2019.

The investigation was sent to the internal affairs division of the DFR for administrative review, but Cox has remained with the service since.

Earlier this year, Vess filed a lawsuit against Cox for detaining him and allegedly using excessive force. The lawsuit also names the city, which is accused of failing to provide adequate training on how to detain and treat people with mental illness or homelessness. The lawsuit also says the city should have already fired Cox over previous allegations of misconduct.

On the day of the incident, DFR was responding to a grass fire on the side of the road as Vess drove down Lone Star Drive in West Dallas. Suspecting that Vess had set on fire, Cox confronted him.

In body camera footage, Cox recounts the incident. “He was walking up the service road and he put one right here in front of the engine somewhere, so I went out to throw it out because it was small before it got big,” he says. “It is at this moment [Vess] got up and started charging.

Surveillance footage from a nearby business captured Vess charging Cox before the two got out of frame, according to DPD investigative documents. (This surveillance footage was not broadcast.)

“I’m glad DFR put him on leave, but it should have been done a long time ago.” – Sean McCaffity, lawyer

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There was a fight between the two, according to the documents, until Vess was overpowered and detained by Cox and other firefighters at the scene. Vess was lying on the road with Cox hovering over him when the police arrived.

The video shows Vess waving his arms on the floor. Cox said to him twice, “Don’t get up anymore.” As Vess sits up, Cox kicks him in the face. Vess gets up to confront Cox, that’s when Cox throws a series of punches. A DPD officer then shocks Vess with a Taser, sending him tripping to the ground.

Prior to this incident, Vess had suffered a head trauma and still suffered from a mental disability. According to Vess’ lawsuit, the kick Cox gave fractured his eye socket and orbital sinus and made his teeth crack.

“I’m glad DFR put him on leave, but it should have been done a long time ago,” said Sean McCaffity, one of Vess’s attorneys. “Leaving alone is not enough.”

In 2019, Cox and a DFR paramedic named Kyle Clark pleaded guilty to falsifying a report in order to cover up his inability and that of others to help. The person who needed help was Hirschell Wayne Fletcher Jr., a homeless man with schizophrenia. He ended up in police custody in 2016 after being robbed and assaulted outside a Dallas soup kitchen.

Court documents say Cox, Clark and the police mocked and harassed Fletcher as he was in pain on the sidewalk for about 10 minutes. They assumed Fletcher was drunk, so they charged him with public drunkenness and took him to the Dallas Marshal’s office and city detention center. The next morning, Fletcher was rushed to hospital after being found unconscious in his cell. Fletcher died in hospital from a head injury.

Cox and Clark were sentenced to 12 months probation as well as a $ 500 fine for falsifying reports. Fletcher’s family have filed a lawsuit against the town, the officers, Cox and Clark. The family is still fighting in court.

Gerald Bright, Cox’s attorney in the Vess case, filed a response to the lawsuit on Monday, asking the court to dismiss all claims against him. Court documents indicate that Cox denies “that any kicking was excessive, but lacks sufficient knowledge or information to form a picture of [Vess’] suspected injuries and past and present condition at that time.


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