Dallas police officer fired, police seek indictment for shooting mentally ill man, officer says he was betrayed
By End the Lie
After a Dallas police officer was fired over the shooting of a mentally ill man, the officer claims that was actually “betrayed” by his department. Police will now seek a grand jury indictment against the officer.
While a video of the incident in Dallas had shed a great deal of light on the events that led to the shooting, other departments aren’t so quick to allow such scrutiny. For instance, police in North Carolina refuse to release video of the shooting of an unarmed man that occurred in September.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown apologized for the actions of now former officer Cardan Spencer, who was placed on administrative leave after the Oct. 14 shooting, according to the Associated Press.
Spencer was also charged with felony aggravated assault, police initially said on Thursday, in relation to the shooting of Bobby Gerald Bennett, a 52-year-old mentally ill man.
However, a later statement was issued by police that said police were directed by a judge to take the case to a grand jury after the judge would not sign a warrant, according to reports.
However, Spencer says he was “betrayed by a department that he was trying to serve,” according to Ron Pinkston, president of the Dallas Police Association.
Pinkston said that Spencer had never had a complaint filed against him in almost seven years on the police force. Spencer also worked in some of the toughest neighborhoods in Dallas, the head of the police union added.
“Spencer has a right to due process in a fair and impartial investigation,” Pinkston said. “Because he’s a police officer that right was taken away.”
While Spencer wrote in a police report that he fired after Bennett lunged at him and another officer with a knife, surveillance camera footage appears to show otherwise.
Bennett was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and was off his medication when he was shot, according to his mother. When he was interviewed in the hospital, Bennett told investigators that at the time he was suicidal and wanted to be shot.
A neighbor’s surveillance camera reportedly shows that Bennett did not appear to even move toward the officers before he was shot by Spencer.
Brown stated that two individuals who witnessed the incident from a parked car later backed up what the department saw on the video.
Bennett was initially charged with aggravated assault but the charges were eventually dropped once the officer’s account of the event became questionable, CBS reports.
Officer Christopher Watson, who was with Spencer at the time of the shooting, is now being investigated by police as well, according to Brown.
Watson’s account of the incident changed after he was shown the video, Brown said.
The encounter began when Bennett’s mother, Joyce Jackson, called the police after arguing with Bennett. Jackson said she was told that the officers who responded would be trained in dealing people suffering from mentally illness.
Bennett was reportedly sitting on a chair in the street outside of his mother’s house holding a knife when the officers arrived.
Just a few hours after the shooting, a police spokesman said that the incident “escalated, which led an officer to fire his weapon upon the individual.”
However, the Associated Press notes that the video does not show such an escalation.
“Officers are not above the law,” Brown said at a Thursday news conference. “We as a police department are not going to look the other way.”
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