Dallas Police Department faces a wrongful death lawsuit alleging police officers engaged in an unlawful vicious attack and violated Jason Harrison’s civil rights when they shot and killed the 39-year-old mentally ill man five times, last year.
Jason Harrison’s family legally obtained the police body camera video because of the wrongful-death lawsuit they filed against the city of Dallas. The family wants the public to see what took place and how Jason was killed on June 14, 2014.
On Tuesday, the Dallas Morning News reported police tactical experts could not come to an agreement as to whether two Dallas police officers acted properly.
On one hand, Dallas Police Department trainer Keith Wenzel states that he would actually show the video of the unfortunate event to students claiming the Dallas police used proper tactics.
“They did an absolutely perfect job.”
On the other hand, former commander of the New Orleans Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team, Cecile Tebo completely disagrees with Wenzel’s claim.
Tebo made the following remark about how Dallas Police handled the situation.
“It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life. That was handled very poorly.”
The day of the deadly incident, Jason’s mother, Shirley Marshall Harrison, called 911 to get help in escorting her son, Jason to Parkland Memorial Hospital. Jason had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and he had stopped taking his medication.
According to the Harrison family lawsuit, Jason’s mother routinely calls emergency services requesting assistance in taking Jason to the hospital when he refuses to take his medication.
According to KDVR, an excerpt from the lawsuit is as follows.
“The police had been to the Harrison home a hundred times or more without incident, as it was well-known in the home and community that Jason was nonviolent.”
When Dallas Police arrived at the Harrison’s home, Jason appeared at the door twiddling a screwdriver.
Dallas Police ordered Jason to drop the screwdriver; but unfortunately, he did not. Two Dallas police officers, John Rogers and Andrew Hutchins, say they were protecting themselves after Harrison allegedly lunged in a stabbing motion towards them. Police shot Jason 5 times, including two times in the back.
The Dallas police incident report says Rogers and Hutchins responded to a “major disturbance,” which involved a mentally ill individual. The report states that in addition to Jason Harrison posing a threat to the officers, Jason “lunged at one officer.”
Dallas police officer Rogers explained in an affidavit that he arrived at the Harrison home with a department issued body camera that did not work.
Rogers provided more details in his affidavit.
“I told the suspect to put down the screwdriver so we could talk, but he refused to comply. The suspect stepped from the doorway and suddenly jabbed the screwdriver at my partner and then seemed to lock onto me and began to move toward me jabbing the screwdriver at me in fast motions.”
Roger explained that he tried to move back, but there was a vehicle in the driveway that blocked a path for him to move out of the way.
Rogers added the following.
“It was at that time that I realized that I was going to die if I didn’t stop the threat in front of me and I pulled my service weapon and fired two times in self-defense.”
Hutchins divulged in his affidavit that he felt Shirley Marshall Harrison walked past the two officers, “as if to put us between herself and her son.”
Hutchins also wrote this statement.
“I was in fear for Officer Rogers’ life and I was forced to draw my service weapon and fire it at the suspect until he was no longer a threat.”
Dallas County District Attorney’s Office is expected to continue an investigation of the incident that caused the death of Jason Harrison. The Dallas Police Department declines to comment any further on the case.
[Featured image courtesy of Huffington Post]