Download our news and weather apps

Surveillance video released showing Commissioner Justin Ford’s domestic violence arrest in April

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Newly released video shows the arrest of Shelby County Commissioner Justin Ford the night police say he beat and choked his girlfriend.

It happened in April in a Church’s Chicken parking lot in the Medical District.

Ford was charged with aggravated assault and false imprisonment, but he's since pleaded to the lesser charge of domestic violence assault.

We’ve seen the mugshot, been there for the court appearances and heard what Ford had to say for himself about his domestic violence arrest.

“Nothing happened that night," said Ford.

But for the first time, we’re seeing surveillance video that captured that April night.

Time-stamped at 8:46, video shows the car police say Ford’s a passenger in pull up, stop, then park in a spot.

The driver-side door where police say Ford’s girlfriend was sitting can be seen opening and closing multiple times over the next several minutes.

The taillights on the car also turn on and off.

In the pixelated image, you can see commotion inside.

“It’s not very telling," said Coleman Garrett, Ford's defense attorney, on Tuesday. "You can see commotion in the vehicle, but you can’t actually see who’s doing what and the details. It wasn’t that clear.”

However, witness Christopher Howard said what he saw was clear. He can be seen in the surveillance video driving a white car.

“Next thing I know, I hear somebody yell, 'Somebody help me, please!'” said Howard when we interviewed him after the arrest in April.

Howard said after he pulled up next to them, he saw Ford hit and choke the victim.

You cannot see any violence on the video.

Surveillance then shows Howard pull into a different spot. He gets out and runs inside the Church’s Chicken.

“I went over to Church’s and started banging on the door and said, 'Look, y’all need to call the police,'" said Howard.

About six minutes later, he and a Church’s Chicken employee walk out and point police in Ford’s direction.

Video shows Ford being brought out of the car and detained.

The videotape ends about 20 minutes after Ford and the victim were first seen pulling in, with five police cars now filling the parking lot.

Commissioner Ford took an Alford plea, which means he acknowledges there’s sufficient evidence to convict him but maintains he’s not guilty.

He was sentenced to a year of probation and anger management classes for the misdemeanor charge.

The video was never entered as evidence in the case, but the special prosecutor said it could’ve been shown had they gone to trial.