Source: Wife of man accused in deadly Denny's fight to be removed from patrol duties

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RAW VIDEO: Eyewitness video shows a closer view of deadly fight outside Denny's. (WARNING: Some viewers may find this video disturbing) (KTRK)

The death of a man who was involved in an altercation with the husband of a sheriff's deputy at a Texas Denny's has been ruled a homicide.

Deputy Chauna Thompson, the wife of the man involved in the fight, will be pulled from patrol duties starting Wednesday, sources confirmed to ABC7 sister station KTRK-TV.

The exact reason for the change has not been released.

On Monday, the attorney for Terry Thompson, the man involved in the fight, said his client did nothing illegal.

That statement was made by attorney Scot Courtney following the release of a short video shot by an eyewitness of the incident.

John Hernandez died last week following the May 28 incident at the Denny's, which is located in Sheldon.

The medical examiner's office released Hernandez's cause of death, stating he died from anoxic encephalopathy due to strangulation with chest compression.

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Timeline of events of the deadly confrontation outside a Denny's restaurant


Courtney said the video and others are not a complete picture of what occurred.

"They certainly don't show the beginning where Mr. Hernandez attacked my client. He was the initial aggressor," Courtney said.

Investigators said Hernandez was urinating outside the restaurant and that Thompson had yelled at him to stop. It's not clear whether Thompson or Hernandez initiated the physical confrontation.

But Thompson nor his wife were arrested or charged.

Eyewitness video released to another attorney showed a close view of the confrontation, with Thompson on top of Hernandez.

"I was pretty shocked. It's a very sad video. You're watching a man basically being killed," Attorney Jack Carroll said. "He was kicking his legs in a helpless fashion, and you could hear him gargling just begging to stop."

Attorneys pointed out the Harris County deputy appeared to be holding the victim's arm down with her knee.

"She had her right knee on his left shoulder," Carroll said.

Carroll's client, who shot the video, said he was only able to get the very end of the altercation. During the time he was recording, the witness told Carroll that the daughter of the sheriff's deputy tried to block him from getting more video.

Another man was also seen trying to get in front of the witness' cellphone, asking him to stop recording.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office is asking for oversight from the Department of Justice and Texas Rangers.

KTRK-TV obtained another piece of video Sunday that showed a different view of the fight and struggle from another eyewitness. They came forward after hearing Hernandez died from his injuries. They appeared to echo attorney accusations that he was held down by the deputy's spouse.

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Vigil held for man killed during deadly fight outside Denny's, Steven Romo reports.


"He has this dude in a choke-hold and he cannot breathe," an eyewitness said.

The video is difficult for Hernandez's family to watch. On Sunday, they held a vigil at the Denny's restaurant in his memory. Despite heavy rain, people like Gilberto Garcia brought their families to call for justice and support the Hernandez family.

"It's not fair just because he's Mexican nobody helped him. It is because the other guy was married with the (deputy)," Garcia said.

RELATED: Deadly Denny's fight under investigation
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Investigation into death of man after fight with deputy's husband


Susanna Santana, Hernandez's cousin, said the outpouring of support is touching.

"It feels good to be heard," Santana said.

State and federal authorities have been called in to help in the investigation before the district attorney decides whether to file charges.

"I think if it were the other way around, the guy would be arrested right there," Garcia added.

Hernandez's family attorney said there's enough in the video to convict Thompson for manslaughter, at the very least, if not murder.

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