Editor's Note: A shortened, bleeped version of the video is available to watch above. Click here to watch the entire more than 20 minute exchange, which includes profanity.
The Harker Heights Police Department on Friday announced technical efforts had recovered the lost footage from a police body camera showing the New Year's arrest of Leah Dure, and the video further refutes her claim that she was assaulted by law enforcement.
Police said the body camera footage proves her claims against Officer Joshua Wood to be false.
"Although the entire contact with DURE by the HHPD was recorded by the previously released videos, this body cam video also shows the injuries on DURE already existed when she was first contacted by HHPD and confirms she was never taken to the ground during the arrest," Harker Heights Police Chief Mike Gentry wrote in a statement.
The attorney representing Leah Dure in the viral police brutality claim against the Harker Heights Police Department announced Wednesday that he would no longer pursue the matter on Dure's behalf.
The announcement came less than a day after the Harker Heights Police Department strongly denied the accusations of police brutality made by Dure, who accused Officer Wood of assaulting and wrongfully arresting her in the early morning on Jan. 1 after a New Year's Eve party. The department provided video and audio evidence to support investigators' belief that Dure was instead injured during an earlier fight involving her boyfriend, her boyfriend's wife and several other people.
Attorney Lee Merritt has deleted his original Facebook post accusing Officer Wood of assault, but not before the post was shared more than 11,400 times. In fact, the post initially accused the wrong police department -- the Killeen Police Department -- before Merritt changed the post.
One thing Merritt did not do publicly was apologize -- something many Facebook commenters from the Central Texas area had requested. He did, however, retract his assault claim.
"There is no factual basis to believe that Officer Joshua Wood committed an assault against Leah Dure," Merritt said in an updated statement.
Merritt used Facebook live on Tuesday night to field questions and offer his perspective on the whole situation. The video is no longer available and appears to have been deleted.
Georgetown-based Attorney Robert McCabe, who represents Officer Wood on wrote on behalf of the Texas Municipal Police Association, said claims like the ones Merritt made about Officer Wood "waters down those cases" where people really do need justice if they are actually abused by law enforcement.
"People like Lee Merritt...he's just a race baiter. That's what he is," McCabe said.
Watch all the previously released footage from the dash camera, surveillance cameras and another officer's body camera shown in the previous press conference below.
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