North Texas Daily

UNT Police say student was likely faking seizure in footage from arrest

UNT Police say student was likely faking seizure in footage from arrest

UNT Police say student was likely faking seizure in footage from arrest
January 25
20:31 2019

The UNT police department released a 39-minute video on Thursday which featured their interaction with a student who was arrested on Tuesday as a suspect in a series of thefts at Willis Library. The release of the video was prompted after a student took a video that is now viral of the suspect in custody because he had yelled “stop choking me.”

The suspect has been identified as UNT political science sophomore Peyton Long. In the video released by UNT police, an officer is seen putting their hand on Long’s throat. Shortly after, Long appeared to have a seizure in the police vehicle, which UNT Chief of Police Ed Reynolds addressed in a written statement.

In the statement, Reynolds wrote that Long “began to repeatedly strike his head against the safety cage” once he had been secured in the police vehicle.

“The officers grasped the suspect below his jaw to control his head movements and prevent him from biting,” Reynolds wrote. “His airway remained clear as he continued to talk to the officers. The suspect then began to shake his body, mimicking the symptoms of a seizure. Based upon the officers’ experience and training as emergency first responders, the suspect seemed to be faking the seizure.”

According to the police, Long was medically evaluated before being booked into Denton County Jail on a misdemeanor charge of theft of property between $100 and $750.

On Friday, Long posted a photo of the medication he said he uses to prevent seizures on Twitter in response to the statement from UNT police. Divalproex ER, or divalproex sodium, is used to treat seizures, the manic phase of bipolar disorder and migraines.

The viral video posted to Twitter was from Carissa, a media arts junior, who said they began recording the incident after hearing the suspect yell “stop choking me” from inside the police vehicle.

“I was on the top floor of the parking garage in front of the Union and I heard a student screaming ‘stop choking me,’ and obviously I saw the police cars,” Carissa told the Daily. “At first [the police] didn’t see me recording, but once they did they got off of [Long] and you can see that in the video.”

UNT News Director Leigh Anne Gullett said Long has been enrolled at the university since fall 2017 and that there was also a warrant out for Long’s arrest for criminal mischief.

Long was released Wednesday after posting his $1,500 bail.

The investigation into the thefts on campus is ongoing.

Featured Image: A screenshot of body camera footage of the arrest in question on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. Courtesy University of North Texas Police Department.

About Author

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel was the news editor at the North Texas Daily from August 2018 to May 2019, and previously served as a staff writer from June 2017 to August 2018.

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