Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) has responded to newly released body camera footage showing him being tackled to the ground by officers during an altercation at a rodeo outside the city of Amarillo in late July.
In the 31-minute video released by the Texas Department of Public Safety on Aug. 14, the two-term Republican congressman can be seen approaching a group of people surrounding a 15-year-old girl who authorities said was having a seizure.
Mr. Jackson, who previously served as the White House physician for former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama, is later seen wrestled to the ground by at least two troopers for refusing to comply with their demands. The video, which has sound in only some portions, shows officers turning the congressman facedown and putting him in handcuffs before helping him to his feet.
“I’m going to call the governor tomorrow and I’m going to talk to him about this [expletive] because this is [expletive] ridiculous,” Mr. Jackson can be heard saying with his voice raised.
In an Aug. 15 post on X, formerly called Twitter, Mr. Jackson said that he was “glad” the video of the incident has been released by the state police, saying the footage showed “the incompetence of the authorities and their complete disregard for the young girl in distress.”
I will apologize for my language, but I will not apologize for getting upset & speaking my mind considering the circumstances. If I had to do it again, I would still step up & act in a life-threatening situation. I will ALWAYS help someone in need. I WILL NOT apologize for that.
— Ronny Jackson (@RonnyJacksonTX) August 15, 2023
“We have the best Sheriffs in the country here in the panhandle and north Texas. Unfortunately, the Sheriff in Carson County is not among them,” Mr. Jackson wrote in the post.
“I will apologize for my language, but I will not apologize for getting upset [and] speaking my mind considering the circumstances,” he added. “If I had to do it again, I would still step up [and] act in a life-threatening situation. I will ALWAYS help someone in need. I WILL NOT apologize for that.”
The video’s release also prompted a response from the congressman’s spokesperson, who reiterated that Mr. Jackson was prevented from providing medical care to the teenager due to “overly aggressive and incompetent actions” by officers.
“Congressman Jackson, as a trained ER physician, will not apologize for sparing no effort to help in a medical emergency, especially when the circumstances were chaotic and the local authorities refused to help the situation,” Kate Lair said.
According to a 17-page sheriff’s report of the incident, a trooper allegedly informed Mr. Jackson that multiple people asked the congressman to step away from the patient to clear the way for EMS personnel, which Mr. Jackson has denied.
The report, which includes accounts from multiple officers who responded to the incident that occurred on July 29, also claims that Mr. Jackson shouted at troopers and threatened to go after Carson County Sheriff Tam Terry politically.
“It became a contest of who oversees the patient’s care,” Mr. Terry wrote in the report. “One thing for sure is everyone present knew that the Trooper was a Trooper, and everyone should have complied with his commands no matter the circumstances. Also, the two Deputies on the scene were in uniform and recognizable, and their efforts to de-escalate the situation were ignored (even after the patient was taken to the ambulance) to the point that they felt the need to take action to control the situation.”
However, two witnesses said that they were about six feet away from the initial confrontation at the rodeo in White Deer—a small town outside the Panhandle city of Amarillo—and believe the deputies had overstepped.
The witnesses, identified as Jodi and Chris Jordan, said the congressman was trying to help the teenager before EMS arrived and that the deputies were needlessly rough in pulling him away, noting the officers “barely missed the concrete” when they took Mr. Jackson to the ground.
“From our view, he never saw EMS,” Jodi Jordan told The Texas Tribune. “He was away from the patient before they showed up on scene.”
“We were just appalled,” said Chris Jordan. “The slamming to the ground I didn’t understand whatsoever.”
Mr. Jackson, according to the sheriff’s report, attempted to care for the teenage girl by putting a gumball in her mouth to help elevate her blood sugar, which resulted in an argument from others at the scene who said the girl had been seizing and food in her mouth could become a choking hazard.
The congressman’s office was not immediately available when contacted to provide additional comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.